Working from home has undeniable advantages for employees and employers alike. Companies can save on costs and office space, while workers can enjoy a dress code that allows pajamas and a commute of a few steps down the hall. The call center and business process outsourcing industries have taken advantage of these upsides by hiring thousands of at-home employees. But these employers may also be taking advantage of their workers, cheating at-home call center agents and representatives of hard-earned wages and overtime pay without the employees even knowing it.
Wage and Overtime Pay Laws Apply to At-Home Reps
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the federal law that imposes minimum wage, overtime pay, and other requirements on almost all employers, applies to at-home workers just as it does to those who work from an office. That means call center employers must pay at-home representatives either the federal minimum wage or their state’s minimum wage, whichever is higher. Additionally, agents who work from home must receive one and a half times their normal wage for all hours worked over 40 in any given work week.
Call Center Employers May Try to Say That Some Work Isn’t Actually Work
Without an office door to walk through or a timecard to punch when the workday starts, employers who want to avoid paying overtime wages can easily try to manipulate the line between compensable work time and off-the-clock time for at-home workers. By excluding certain work-related tasks from compensable time, they stand a better chance of keeping a worker’s hours under 40 for a given week.
Such tactics are wrong, unfair, and, in fact, against the law. Call center employers must pay at-home call center workers for the time they spend performing a variety of tasks that employers may be tempted to not count as part of their compensable hours. These can include such common and essential work-related obligations as:
- Starting up computers, signing on to applications and downloading work information or directions at the beginning of the workday.
- Powering down computers and applications at the end of the workday.
- Reading or sending work-related emails before and after their shifts.
- Attending team meetings before or after the end of the workday.
- Working with or waiting for IT or technical support staff to fix problems with computer systems, networks, and other technology necessary for performing their responsibilities.
Contact the Overtime Pay Attorneys for a Free Consultation to Discuss Your Wage and Hours Concerns
Working from home is great. Wage theft should not be the price that call center representatives pay for doing so. If you suspect that you are being shortchanged for all the hard work you do, contact an experienced overtime pay lawyer – even if you’re in your pajamas.