Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many American workers have performed job duties from home. Though many associate work-from-home arrangements with white-collar employees, there are thousands of highway, utility and infrastructure contractors doing the same.
Working from home makes it possible for team members to safely social distance, but it also presents challenges. This is particularly true when it comes to tracking the number of hours of compensable work by employees who are telecommuting or working off of the job site. To assist employers in these efforts, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) recently released Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) 2020-5.
FAB 2020-5 states that “An employer is required to pay its employees for all hours worked, including work not requested but suffered or permitted, including work performed at home. See 29 C.F.R. § 785.11-12. If the employer knows or has reason to believe that work is being performed, the time must be counted as hours worked. An employer may have actual or constructive knowledge of additional unscheduled hours worked by their employees, and courts consider whether the employer should have acquired knowledge of such hours worked through reasonable diligence.”
In order to exercise this diligence, the WHD recommends, “providing a reasonable reporting procedure for nonscheduled time and then compensating employees for all reported hours of work, even hours not requested by the employer. If an employee fails to report unscheduled hours worked through such a procedure, the employer is not required to undergo impractical efforts to investigate further to uncover unreported hours of work and provide compensation for those hours.”
To read FAB 2020-5 in full, click here.
Monitoring employee hours remotely is just one of the challenges many contractors are facing. To assist employers during these challenging times, WHD has prepared a list of resources that you can access here. AGC of Washington has also developed its own set of coronavirus resources for members. You can access that information here. If you’d like additional information about FAB 2020-5, feel free to contact Claiborne Guy at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (703) 837-5382.