Keeping Track of Wages: The US Department of Labor has an App for That

August 1st, 2014

An important aspect of running a business is establishing a sound timekeeping process for accurately recording your employees’ attendance and hours worked.  In the event of litigation, the absence of accurate records can impair your defense.  If you do not keep accurate records of time, the court may use the records provided by the employee bringing the dispute.

Previously, the U.S. Department of Labor provided templates employees could use to keep track of their records by hand.  A few years ago, the Department of Labor introduced an application, currently available on the iPhone and iPod Touch, which greatly simplifies the recordkeeping process for the employee.

From the U.S. Department of Labor website [emphasis added]:

Through the app, users will be able to add comments on any information related to their work hours; view a summary of work hours in a daily, weekly and monthly format; and email the summary of work hours and gross pay as an attachment.

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.

“I am pleased that my department is able to leverage increasingly popular and available technology to ensure that workers receive the wages to which they are entitled,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “This app will help empower workers to understand and stand up for their rights when employers have denied their hard-earned pay.”

The free app is currently compatible with the iPhone and iPod Touch. The Labor Department will explore updates that could enable similar versions for other smartphone platforms, such as Android and BlackBerry, and other pay features not currently provided for, such as tips, commissions, bonuses, deductions, holiday pay, pay for weekends, shift differentials and pay for regular days of rest.

There are several points that you should know.  First, the application is designed so that the employee can easily e-mail his or her records to a third party.  With a few clicks an employee can distribute their documentation to the Department of Labor, plaintiffs’ attorneys or whoever else they may see fit.  Second, the comments by Labor Secretary Solis that employees can “understand and stand up for their rights when employers have denied their hard-earned pay” shows that the posture of the Department of Labor in a Wage and Hour Division investigation will be that a business is “guilty before proven innocent.”  Notice the aggressiveness of her language that employers have “denied their [employees] hard earned pay.”  Absent from Labor Secretary Solis’s quote is consideration that an honest mistake happened.  Lastly, the Department of Labor intends to explore enhancing the application to perform other functions like tracking commissions, bonuses and holiday pay.  All of these enhancements would make the application more relevant to large portions of your workforce, such as sales associates and technicians.

If you do not keep accurate records of your employee’s schedule and hours worked, you are welcoming an investigation by the Department of Labor and lawsuits by plaintiffs’ attorneys. Technology has made it easier than ever for an employee to bring such a claim.


Now is the time for a thorough review of your time keeping processes. We can help. Call us at 631-224-7000

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