Do New Overtime Rules Make Telework Too Risky?

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Flexible working options and telecommuting have become ever more popular with employees. Actually, 30 percent greater than 2,600 respondents to a 2015 FlexJobs survey said they might take a 10 as well as 20 percent cut in purchase flexible work options. And employers are listening.

According to data released in January from GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, regular work-at-home is continuing to grow by 103 percent since 2005. Approximately 20 to twenty five percent of the workforce teleworks at some frequency and 3.7 million U.S. employees now home based at least half of that time period.

And telework starts to get speed, employers may rethink flexible options. Why? New overtime rules.

The finalized rules, that have been just released the other day, will improve the salary to $47,476 for employees to be exempt from overtime pay. Which means employees who are exempt from overtime pay who earn significantly less than this threshold can be nonexempt — employers will suddenly be asked to pay overtime to over four million more employees within the first year of implementing the brand new rules.

Just what exactly do the brand new overtime rules want to do with telework? Well, it creates flexible work environments riskier and more difficult for employers. Here’s how:

Monitoring time is more important…

Flexible work arrangements and the proposed overtime rule are in odds. While telework and other arrangements concentrate on the task employees accomplish as opposed to the time they devote, the brand new overtime rules make time far more important in the eyes of regulations.

Employees who work beyond any office and who set their own schedule may work atypical hours based on their workload and lifestyle. And, given that employees are completing their work and meeting deadlines, employers might not closely monitor their hours. But if flexible workers are actually nonexempt, monitoring their time is crucial.

Now it’s the employer’s responsibility to track their hours and get them to accurately compensated because of their time.

…and riskier.

But monitoring employee time isn’t simple, and it could be risky for employers. Who’s to avoid a worker from checking their email before bed? Before they know it, they’ve spent additional time than they intended updating a proposal or crafting a reply to a customer. Employees who are accustomed to working every time they want might not even realize they will work overtime. And that could leave employers available to compliance issues.

Without clear and accurate time monitoring, there’s also the chance that employees can claim they worked unreported overtime hours. This risk alone may lead employers to get rid of flexible work arrangements. But is that basically necessary? Will telework become too risky for employers? It doesn’t have to.

The brand new overtime rules will certainly change teleworking — nonetheless it shouldn’t end flexible options. Working habits, policies and expectations should adjust to keep employers compliant and employees happy. Here’s how:

Related: IN THE EVENT YOU Pay Employees an Hourly Wage or an income?

Give flexibility more structure.

Though it sounds counterintuitive, flexible arrangements will require more structure in the wake of the brand new overtime rules. Clearly define what telework means at the business and update policies to become more specific.

Consider setting scheduled hours employees must work, but permit them to select their working location. Or, use individual employees to create schedules that work for them — maybe they work four 10-hour days or start at differing times on Mondays and Wednesdays etc. Whatever the arrangement is, make certain it’s clear and that employees know if they should and shouldn’t be working.

Related: Here’s The way the New Overtime Rules Will Affect Entrepreneurs

Update time tracking policies.

Once schedules are obvious, set policies on what employees should track their time, including who they should report their hours to and how often they have to do so.

Fortunately, technology could make this technique easier for employers and their workers. HR software can simply be utilized to keep track and remind employees of their working schedules while helping managers keep flexible schedules straight. Other apps may also easily monitor employee time with virtual clocking in and out.

Whatever the procedure is, make certain all nonexempt employees understand how they have to track and report all their time worked. Stress the need for accurately tracking time to allow them to be paid fairly and flexible working arrangements continue steadily to work smoothly.

Related: HAVE YOU GOT an idea to Survive the Proposed Overtime Rules?

Note for Editor: Any questions or comments upon this post, please email [email protected]