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Digital dilemma: Paying employees to check BlackBerrys?

Should employees receive overtime compensation for checking company email, checking messages or posting a work-related blog from home?

The question recently became a hot topic at ABC, over whether the company should pay writers to check their BlackBerry outside of work.

The writers’ union challenged a longstanding contract waiver stating that writers who occasionally checked their BlackBerry after hours did not receive time-and-a-half overtime pay.

ABC argued that paying employees time-and-a-half overtime for using their BlackBerry for minutes at a time would turn into a nightmare of a paperwork and payroll issue.

The Writers’ Guild’s wanted to make a point that while technology makes it easy to work from anywhere, but we must avoid creating a 24/7 workplace.

In the end, ABC still will not pay overtime for employees who check email away from the office, holding true to their practices before the argument started.

As technology makes it easier to work from home, blurring the lines between work and play, issues like this will only continue to crop up.

Do you think this is a workplace issue we should be worried about? What’s the right thing to do?
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1 comment:

Totally Consumed said...

Timely post - this issue just grows larger with the exponential growth in cell-phone web use. Not only that, but younger generations are notorious multi-taskers, constantly chatting while working and listing to their ipod. This blurification of work and play makes current FLSA rules on overtime pay unrealistic and unworkable.

 

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