A bill is being considered in France that would potentially restrict severely use of e-mail by employees off the clock. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/12/world/europe/in-france-a-move-to-limit-off-the-clock-work-emails.html.
I have read many business leaders respond with dismay. How much can French government regulate and expect business to survive, let alone thrive?
Lots come back across the pond. That “controversial,” “extreme” and “off the wall” French proposal: well, it is already US law!
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, non-exempt employees must be paid for all time worked. Work-related e-mails are work!
U.S, employers face exposure here primarily in two areas:
- Mobile devices, such as i-phones
- Remote access to the employer's network server
Of course, the safest legal answer:
- No mobile devices for non-exempt employees
- Block access by non-exempt employees to the employer's network
This may avoid legal risk. But it also may be business blind,
Employers need to consider when there are compelling circumstances for e-mail use by non-exempt employees outside of regular working hours and then:
- Create parameters for limited use
- Monitor employees to make sure they use mobile devices or access the network only within such parameters
- Establish protocol for employees to record time worked
- Pay for all time recorded as worked
- Pay also if management has actual or constructive knowledge of off the clock e-mail work
So what was your reaction to French proposal, again?