This week, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that they have developed a free smartphone app for employees to keep track of the their hours, independently from their employer, and determine what they should be getting paid. You can read the press release at the link above, but there’s one key paragraph that should jump out to you: “This new technology is significant because, instead of relying on their employers’ records, workers now can keep their own records. This information could prove invaluable during a Wage and Hour Division investigation when an employer has failed to maintain accurate employment records.”
Apps like this have already been out and available for a while, some even with better functionality that this DOL app (aptly named “Timesheet”), utilizing GPS coordinates, etc. The technology isn’t technically “new.” But what is new is that the DOL has put their name on the app and is specifically putting it out for employees to enable them to prove their employers are not treating them fairly.
This is significant. It brings a great deal of attention to the fact that employers don’t always do the best job with their WFM system implementations and it empowers employees to do something about it with a DOL-approved smartphone tool. The perception that employees can create a lawsuit with a DOL tool is probably a lot better than just an oral deposition and a list of emails complaining about working late and not getting overtime, I would think. The app is not perfect nor all encompassing. It doesn’t provide for differentials, holidays, bonuses, tips, or commissions.
But one special feature it does have: It can take the employee’s punches, figure out what their pay should be given a base wage rate and OT and let’s the employee send an email straight from the app with the data as an attachment! What does this mean for employers? If you don’t have your house in order in regards to your WFM system, making sure that you are tracking your employee’s time and paying them correctly for it, then you had better move that project to the top of your priority list! All it takes is one employee to see this app in the iTunes store, download it as a joke, and then realize that their paycheck doesn’t match what the app says they should be paid. Instant litigation ensues… Oh, and in case you are interested to check it out yourself, you can download the app here or at least take a look at the screenshots.