It’s hard to believe, but the iPhone isn’t even four years old. Yet in that short amount of time, developers have created more than 350,000 apps to make our lives easier. Think about it. How did we ever get by without Flixster, Shazam, Urbanspoon, and, most importantly, Angry Birds? Now the United States Department of Labor (DOL) has gotten into the game and created an app that makes it easier for employees to sue their employers for wage and hour violations.
On May 9, 2011, the DOL announced the launch of a new smart-phone app that allows employees to track their work hours separate from the records kept by their employers. The application, available in English and Spanish, allows users to track regular work hours, break time and overtime hours for one or more employers. Employees can add comments to the information they input and view and email time reports directly from the app. In addition, the app features links to wage law sections of the DOL’s website and a “Contact Us” button that allows users to call or email the DOL’s Wage & Hour Division. The DOL has emphasized that this information could prove useful during investigations where employers have failed to maintain accurate employment records.
Employees can download the app from iTunes (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dol-timesheet/id433638193?mt=8). It’s currently compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. The DOL is continuing to develop similar versions for other smart-phone platforms, such as Android and BlackBerry. According to the DOL, future updates could include features to track tips, commission, bonuses, deductions, holiday pay, pay for weekends, shift differentials and pay for regular days of rest.
Since the app is so new, it remains to be seen how much of a role it may actually play in future wage and hour litigation. Employers can and should reduce the risk that the app becomes a real weapon for employees by accurately tracking work hours and making sure employees are paid properly and on time.
Thanks to BRR intern Jennifer Unter for help putting this post together.