In May 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced the release of its first application for smartphones—a timesheet allowing employees to independently keep track of the hours they work to determine the wages they are owed. The app allows users to add comments, view a summary of their hours worked in a daily, weekly, and monthly format, and to email the summary as an attachment. Commenting on the app, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said, “This app will help empower workers to understand and stand up for their rights when employers have denied their hard-earned pay.”
In keeping with its emphasis on technology to assist in the enforcement of wage laws, and to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the DOL announced its Fair Labor Data Challenge contest. The challenge is for participants to design a smartphone app that integrates enforcement data and compliance history from the Wage and Hour Division and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with consumer ratings websites, geo-positioning Web tools, and other relevant data sets, such as those available from state health boards.
Ultimately, the successful app will allow consumers to determine if a business they support is obeying the law when it comes to paying workers properly and providing employees with a safe work environment. This contest demonstrates the DOL’s increased commitment to ensure employees are properly paid for all hours worked. Now, more than ever, employers need to be certain they are properly tracking and paying for all hours worked. MSEC’s HR staff and employment law attorneys are always available to answer your questions.