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New Labor Dept. app to help workers log hours under FLSA

The United States Labor Department has created a new tool to help workers and employers sort out hours under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act has been the largest wage and hour law issue every year across the nation. Hourly employees and employers fight each other every year over additional hours spent on the job and about proper compensation. Like so many other issues, there is now an app for that.

The United States Labor Department has created an iPhone application that workers can use to log their work hours. The application is available in English and Spanish and allows workers to write comments before the hour summary is emailed to themselves or their employer. According to the Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis, the application will help empower workers understand and stand up for their rights.

Labor experts also say the application is in the best interest in employers as well since so much time, energy and money is spent settling overtime pay issues. Each year the Department of Labor steps in to help 220,000 workers gain unpaid overtime wages. In 2010, there were 700 more wage and hour lawsuit filed than the year before totaling 6,800 lawsuits. Last year, employers paid $176 million in back wages.

One labor law attorney says that many overtime suits are hard to prove because of poor records kept by workers. The new app will help workers keep more accurate records. The new application may encourage employers to start keeping better track of workers' hours as well and not ignore wage and hour issues.

Source: The Washington Post, "Working: Labor Department app could reduce overtime disputes," Vickie Elmer, 5/22/11

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