April 26, 2021


How’s that for alphabet soup?! On April 26th, the U.S. Department of Labor added seven (7) new wage and hour questions and answers related to COVID-19. A few include:

  1. Do OSHA regulations apply to an employee’s home office? No. OSHA issued a directive in February 2000 stating that they will not inspect employees’ home offices, will not hold employers liable for employees’ home offices, and does not expect employers to inspect the home offices of their employees.
  2. How are hours worked calculated for employees who work from home? This was addressed in guidance issued by the DOL in August 2020.  They recommend employers provide reasonable time-reporting procedures so they can then pay employees for all reported hours.
  3. Does an employer have to pay an employee the same rate of pay when they work from home? This could be my favorite. The DOL answer is, “It depends.”  I find the answer less than satisfying and rather non-responsive.
  4. Is an employer required to reimburse an employee for expenses incurred when working from home? Be sure any costs to your non-exempt employee do not take that employee below minimum wage. “[A]n employer may not require you to pay for items that are your employer’s business expenses if doing so reduces your earnings below the required federal minimum wage or overtime compensation due in any workweek.”

NOTE: Some of the answers may require additional consideration.  For example, some may assume the question is asked as it relates to non-exempt employees only.  They also may not remind the reader to consider state and local laws that might have requirements the FLSA does not.  They do provide a good starting point from which you can work with your legal counsel to determine the answer that is right for your organization and situation.

Click here to access the full list of questions.  To facilitate your search, the latest questions include the date 4/26/2021.