Reprinted from NETtime Solutions.
Dec. 16, 2011T
SCOTTSDALE, AZ, December 16, 2011 — Through a recent survey conducted by NETtime Solutions, a SaaS time and attendance solutions provider, information about common illegal and risky labor law practices is now available.
The survey consisted of a core question seeking data on which of four labor practices participants had experienced. Respondents could select from working off the clock, missed breaks, after-hours phone call and email activity, mandatory mealtime deductions, an open-ended response or combination of the five choices. Of those labor practices, survey participants could then respond about how frequently they were experienced and what, if anything, they did in response.
NETtime’s survey results unveiled the following:
65% of respondents experienced the need to respond to emails or take phone calls after regular working hours or at home
46% experienced working off the clock to prevent or limit overtime
33% experienced mandatory mealtime deductions regardless of if a break was taken
28% experienced working through break times that were still deducted from their pay
15% experienced other labor practices that were entered into an open-ended response field.
While all of these labor practices are dangerous, three, working off the clock, deducting worked meals and breaks, are illegal according to the US Department of Labor (DOL) standards, which state that all work “suffered or permitted” must be paid.
Of the 48 people who participated in the survey over half reported these labor practices where regular or constant. Forty-four percent dealt with these labor practices occasionally, while the remaining two percent only experienced this as a one-time occurrence.
The survey collected data from people across the United States who worked in a wide variety of industries. Trends seen in the collected responses showed that while no industry was immune to unfair labor law practices, some practices were more common in certain lines of work than others. Those working in retail, for example, were more likely to skip meals or breaks and still have the time deducted from their pay. In addition, all those who responded from the Healthcare, Hospitality and Sales industries reported answering phone calls and taking emails while off the clock.
When asked, “How did the labor law practice(s) noted above affect your pay? What did you do in response?” many respondents indicated they just accepted it and did nothing, stating that they were happy to have the job. Others sought employment elsewhere when the issues were not resolved.
Based on the comments received from the survey, there was an underlying tone that even though these labor practices were unfair, employers made attempts to compensate for them by doing things like offering PTO or allowing employees to leave the office early in lieu of paying overtime.
Although employers may make attempts to be fair to employees, being fair is not the same as being compliant. The DOL is very strict about enforcing labor laws and would likely fine companies for participating in the labor practices revealed by NETtime’s survey. Other costly outcomes for companies who partake in bending labor laws to fit their businesses include employee lawsuits. Labor practices such as taking phone calls or replying to emails after regular working hours or at home may be part of justifiable company policy but can open the door to potential back wage legal action if not effectively managed.
NETtime’s most recent survey, which dug deeper into labor practices, is part of an ongoing series of investigations into human resource, payroll and labor law compliance. All results from this series are posted to the company’s Facebook page at http://www.Facebook.com/NETtimeSolutions.
Reprinted from NETtime.