The U.S. DOL’s Smartphone App…Made for Your Employees

The U.S. DOL’s Free Smartphone App…Made for Your Employees

September 2011

On May 9, 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced the launch of its first smartphone application, the “DOL-Timesheet” designed specifically for employees. In a DOL news release that same day, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis stated that by leveraging “increasingly popular and available technology …this app will help empower workers to understand and stand up for their rights when employers have denied their hard-earned pay.” However, this tool can be problematic for small to mid-sized businesses. Employers need to take extra caution to ensure that employees are absolutely paid correctly, complaints are handled effectively, and recordkeeping is maintained accurately.

The Timesheet App. Currently available only for the iPhone and iPod Touch, the app helps employee capture pay information and educates them about their wage and hour rights.

Timesheet: First of all, a user names one or more employers. Then, by creating a timesheet for each employer, the user notes the hourly rate of pay, identifies the company-defined workweek, and tracks the hours worked (including break time, meal periods, and overtime hours).

Summary: In a daily, weekly or monthly format, the summary displays the timesheet for each employer, the hours worked, and the gross pay.

Report: The user can customize and easily email a report based on a date range and/or employer.

Glossary: This section covers basic information for usage of the app and, more importantly, provides additional reference and web links to wage and hour laws.

Contact: For further assistance, users can directly contact the U.S. DOL’s Wage and Hour Division.

While the DOL-timesheet app has received only 35 reviews as of this publication, more employees will be informed of its availability, and the DOL with its committed worker rights education campaigns expects usage to increase. As awareness grows, employers also will face a number of new challenges. For example, may an employer prohibit employees from using the app while at work? What if discrepancies exist between the employer’s and the employee’s records? Issues such as these will be addressed in next month’s newsletter.

Meanwhile, in light of this app (and likely other similar measures leveraging technology), employers should review regularly the accuracy of their timekeeping systems and assess clearly their compliance with federal and state wage and hour laws.