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Paying Employee for Personal Cell Phone

Company phone calls are forwarded to an employee’s personal cell phone. Does the company need to pay or reimburse the employee?

Employees using their personal cell phones for company business is becoming increasingly common. Though there is no federal mandate that employers must pay for an employee’s personal phone, the commonly accepted practice is to consider how often an employee is expected to use the phone for business purposes and pay an appropriate portion of the bill, or pay for any expenses incurred while using the phone for business reasons.

Keep in mind some states have their own employment laws that must be considered. Most notably, employers in California must reimburse their employees when they use their personal cell phones for work purposes even if they don’t incur additional expenses in doing so.

Employers must also consider if the time spent responding to work related calls/texts/emails outside of an employee’s regular schedule must be compensated.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes compensation requirements for employees.

Under the FLSA, employees are classified as either non-exempt or exempt.

Non-exempt employees must be paid for all hours worked and are subject to overtime and minimum wage requirements prescribed by the FLSA. Conversely, exempt employees receive a fixed predetermined salary for any week during which work is performed regardless of the quantity or quality of work performed.

Any time non-exempt employees are suffered or permitted to work must be compensated. Thus, if a non-exempt employee is required to perform work functions outside of work, such as responding to phone calls, texts, or emails, the time must be paid. However, such time need not be paid if it’s de minimus in nature. Meaning, if an employee responds to one text in a matter of seconds the time need not be paid.


This entry was posted on Thursday, May 4th, 2017 at 8:49 pm and is filed under
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