As a part of efforts to increase enforcement of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the United States Department of Labor (DOL) has introduced its first application for smartphones—the DOL Timesheet. This new application will allow employees to independently track their hours worked and determine the wages owed to them without having to rely on their employer’s time records.

The application, which is available in English and Spanish, will help employees track their regular work hours, break times, and overtime for multiple employers. The DOL Timesheet will also link employees to the DOL website where they can find information about their rights under the FLSA as well as find information about how to file wage and hour complaints against their employers.

Currently, the application is only compatible with the iPhone and iPod Touch, however, the DOL has been exploring updates that will allow the application to be used with other smartphones, such as the Android and BlackBerry. For workers without smartphones, the DOL has made available a printable calendar that may be used to track rates of pay and work hours. The printed calendar also provides the employee with information about their rights under the FLSA and how to file a complaint with the DOL.

Some critics argue that applications like the new timesheet will only encourage meritless wage disputes, while the Secretary of Labor comments that the new application will “ensure that workers receive the wages to which they are entitled."

In 2010, employees brought a record number of wage and hour lawsuits—nearly 700 more lawsuits than were filed in 2009. Employers can reasonably expect these lawsuits to continue to increase. Due to this prospective increase in claims, prudent employers should make sure that their current wage and hour policies are up to date and in compliance with both the FLSA and the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act.