Maxine Adams Quoted in “3 Timekeeping Tips for Employers with Remote Workers”

Law360 Employment Authority

Maxine Adams, Associate in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, was quoted in Law360 Employment Authority, in “3 Timekeeping Tips for Employers with Remote Workers,” by Mike LaSusa. (Read the full version – subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

More than a third of U.S. workers are now telecommuting because of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving many employers facing new challenges in keeping track of remote employees' compensable time, attorneys say.

Recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau suggests nearly 89 million out of roughly 240 million workers in the U.S. have "substituted some or all of their typical in-person work for telework" due to the ongoing novel coronavirus crisis.

What's more, surveys from Gartner Inc. and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP released last year indicate that a majority of employers are open to continuing remote work even after the worst of the outbreak passes.

But keeping track of employees' compensable time can be harder when they're working from home. Here, Law360 explores some common timekeeping pitfalls and examines some strategies for avoiding them. …

Make Sure Work Hours Policies Are Clear

The most common piece of advice attorneys shared with Law360 is for employers to create clear policies around timekeeping for teleworkers, and to make sure those policies are clearly communicated. …

Maxine Adams, an attorney with management-side firm Epstein Becker Green, recommended that employers review their written policies to ensure they expressly prohibit off-the-clock work and failure to record all time worked. Adams also advised investing in training to make sure employees understand record-keeping rules as well as practical aspects like how to use timekeeping software.

Additionally, Adams recognized that many employers have offered greater scheduling flexibility to their remote workers in order to accommodate challenges related to COVID-19.

"If they do, employers should provide clear instructions about how to request a more flexible schedule and how to really record hours worked if not continuous," the Epstein Becker attorney said.

Don't Let Your Guidelines Gather Dust

The transition to remote work in the midst of a pandemic has posed challenges for both workers and management. …

This kind of check-in can be particularly helpful for organizations that are just shifting to remote work for the first time, said Adams of Epstein Becker.

"You might want to have managers keep a closer-than-normal eye on time entries during the first few weeks of the transition to ensure the time the employee is reporting seems consistent with the employee's productivity and with other information that's going to be known by the managers," she said.

For employers that have already made the leap, Adams recommended doing a periodic spot-check to look for odd patterns in time entries, like signing in and out at the same exact time every day, or large divergences in recorded time versus productivity.