June 17, 2011
Uncle Sam is now developing iPhone apps. Seriously. Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) launched a time-tracking app for smartphones that tracks an employee’s hours worked, and by doing so, puts employers across the nation on notice. The government-issue technology is fairly basic and has good intentions (protecting employees), but it carries far-reaching implications.
The press release by the DOL says, “Instead of relying on their employers’ records, workers can now 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.”
And there’s the rub. Employers’ time-keeping systems will no longer have authority. Instead, employees with a timesheet dispute will turn to the small-screened device for their records to resolve back pay issues.
Uh oh…do I smell the blistering stench of Labor Law Attorneys drooling?
As the CEO of a company that lives and breathes time-tracking, the new DOL app raises some good points; however, it’s going to create an onslaught of problems. For example, if an employee is tracking time independently of the employer time-keeping framework, how often will the numbers align? Even with the best intentions, it won’t be often, and in our experience, probably not ever.
Here is the question coming from the marketplace: Why spend taxpayer money to develop an app that is going to create a wedge between employees and employers? They are on the same team, right?
So, what can be done? Simple. Get a time tracking solution that protects both employees and employers. There are lots of great solutions that have already been developed by private, non-government companies.
A DOL compliant system offers the same time tracking, management, and reporting that is available in the new DOL time sheet app, with a few crucial technological innovations that make it work for actual work. Look for a solution that has an undeletable log that tracks everything someone does or attempts to do, where they were when they did it, and who did it. No longer can an employer dishonestly “change” someone’s timesheet without it being accounted for. And no longer can an employer be vulnerable to an illegitimate accusation by an employee for changing their timesheet. It’s all tracked. Period.
My suggestion: Don’t allow the new DOL timesheet app to create a dissonance between you and your employer. Simply get your employer to use a system that protects both sides of the paycheck.
Editor’s note: This is a guest blog post by Matt Rissell. Matt Rissell is the CEO of TSheets, a technology company that makes time and labor management easy.
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