What is considered the workplace and how work gets done has steadily evolved over the past six months. With the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in stay-at-home orders in Tennessee and throughout the rest of the country, many Tennessee employees have seen major adjustments to their work environment. Essential workers have been forced to continue working with additional safety precautions added to their workday while non-essential workers have turned to working from home. Despite not being physically in the office, these remote workers continue to work around the clock, with many putting in more than 40 hours each week. Working remotely has not changed laws regarding overtime pay, although some employers may attempt to do otherwise.
Who Is Eligible for Overtime?
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) determines policies of the workplace to ensure that all employees are treated fairly by their employers. This includes setting a minimum wage rate and requiring overtime pay for additional hours worked. The FLSA divides employees into two categories: exempt and nonexempt employees.
Exempt employees are those who are salaried employees and not entitled to overtime pay. These employees must be paid the same amount every pay period, regardless of the number of hours that they have worked. This means that if they work under 40 hours, they should be paid their normal wage, and if they work over 40 hours, they will not be paid more for their time. Nonexempt workers are those who are subject to minimum wage rates, paid on an hourly basis, and are entitled to overtime pay if they work over 40 hours in one week. Overtime pay is given at one and a half times the employee’s normal pay rate in Tennessee.
Working Additional Hours Remotely
Not all nonexempt employees are essential workers, meaning even those working remotely are entitled to overtime pay. If you are a non-salary employee who is working more than 40 hours per week, even if the work is being done in your own home, your employer owes you overtime pay for your time. It can be difficult to monitor or track overtime when working remotely, since your employer is not physically seeing your presence at the office. In a similar manner to the way you clock in and out at your office, your manager should implement a means in which you can clock in and out from your home office. They may be concerned about the validity of your check-ins, wondering if you were really working throughout the day. A good way for companies to monitor an employee’s work is by using a digital platform for each employee to sign in at the beginning of the day and for the platform to show each employee’s status throughout the day. In other words, if you are actively working and present on your laptop, the digital platform will show this. Once you go inactive, your account will reflect your inactivity. There are a number of ways for employers to track the work hours of their remote employees, leaving no excuses for the refusal of overtime pay.
Contact a Chattanooga Wage and Hour Attorney
Even as stay-at-home orders come to a close, many businesses are remaining remote until a COVID-19 vaccine is readily available. If you are a non-salary employee but have not received the proper pay for your hours, a remote working environment is not a valid excuse for your lack of wages. At Warren & Griffin, P.C., we fight for the rights of employees to receive overtime pay for their additional time, regardless of their workspace. We believe that no employee should be working “off the clock,” especially during these unpredictable times. Contact our Tennessee wage and hour lawyers at 423-265-4878 to discuss your case.