Must you pay hourly staff for BlackBerry time? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Must you pay hourly staff for BlackBerry time?

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The answer isn’t clear, as ABC News recently learned. The media company said nonexempt writers wouldn’t be paid for those minutes spent checking their office-issued BlackBerry devices after regular work hours. But their union objected. Finally, a compromise was reached under which the writers would be paid for significant time spent on the devices, but not for a quick e-mail check and reply.

This will be a growing argument. Unpaid overtime is a hot legal issue right now. And with electronic devices, employees will have an easier time showing exactly how much time they spent after hours, since on-air time is tracked.

Advice: Work with your attorney to develop a BlackBerry policy that keeps you in line with the Fair Labor Standards Act.

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