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How technology may hurt hourly workers

New York residents may be aware of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. It outlines wage and hour laws that ensure workers get paid a minimum wage and that employers observe overtime regulations. However, timekeeping software may make it easier for employers to change or modify employee timesheets without workers knowing that changes have been made. Regulations related to how employers record a worker's hours have not been updated since 1987.

Back then, hours were typically written by hand on a piece of paper. Today, software programs make it possible for managers to round employee time while also automatically deducting time for breaks. In some cases, these functions could cause employers to run afoul of wage and hour laws. A study entitled 'When Timekeeping Software Undermines Compliance" found that better laws led to changes in software design.

Specifically, it found that software marketed to Department of Defense contractors had increased safeguards compared to products marketed to civilian employers. This was because the Defense Contract Audit Agency uses rules that are better suited to modern technology. For instance, any edits made to a timesheet were routed to employees, which led to greater transparency. This safeguard also reduced the odds of wage theft or wage and hour disputes between employer and employee.

Those who believe that their employers violated hour or wage laws may wish to talk with an attorney. Legal counsel may be able to review time clock records to determine if any changes were made with or without an employee's knowledge. If it can be established that an employer made such changes or otherwise violated wage and hour laws, an employee may be entitled to compensation. Cases may be resolved either through a formal trial or through settlement talks with the employer.

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