Working After Clocking Out

“My employee, Sue, occasionally responds to my emails in the evening. I don’t expect her to respond from home but she does. Now she’s asking to be paid for that time. Do I have to pay her?”

Yes, you do owe her if she’s an hourly employee. You may even owe her overtime if checking her email caused her to work over 8 hours that day. Now that everyone seems to have a smartphone capable of receiving work emails and voice mails, you need to consider your options.

  • Make sure all your supervisors know not to send emails or voice mails to non-exempt (hourly) employees outside of the employee’s scheduled hours. This is often ignored because exempt employees can work varied hours and they don’t want to hamper their workflow.
  • End the ability for certain employees to access emails and voicemails from personal devices. If your employees must use their personal devices during their workday, this won’t be an option for you.
  • Create a policy stating that non-exempt employees are not expected nor allowed to read or respond to emails or voicemails outside of normal work hours. While it won’t be difficult to create the policy, you need to be prepared to uphold your policy by disciplining employees who break it.

Don’t ignore any after-hours work your non-exempt employees might perform. The California Supreme Court has said every minute worked in California is considered paid time, regardless of the employee’s schedule. If employees are doing anything work-related, you’ll need to pay them for that time.

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