In an interesting twist on the chatter around President Obama’s proposal to raise the threshold below which an employer needs to pay overtime for more than 40 hours of work, some are predicting an ’email curfew’.
Obama’s proposal basically says that if someone is a salaried employee, you still have to pay them overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a week, if their salary is lower than $50,440 (currently the threshold is $23,660).
Replying to work email is ‘work’. In fact, it may well be that the simple act of reading email, or even just accessing the corporate mail server, can be deemed work.
And that has some employers in a tizzy, and some employees – and likely their significant others – hopeful.
Because, of course, with the advent of ubiquitous smartphones and business over email, lots and lots of employees check their work email up through bedtime, and even beyond.
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In an interview with NPR, for example, the head of HR at Pomona College explained that they have adopted a policy that limits the hours during which employees can access email.
“They are instructed to not download email to their personal devices. And they are not supposed to be on email after hours,” she said, explaining that it was specifically in an effort to reduce overtime, adding that “Because here in California, even if you read the email — doesn’t mean you have to respond to it — now you’re working.”
So how about you? Would being forbidden from accessing and responding to work email after hours be a boon or a problem for you?
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