COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) — Should you be paid for answering work emails or messages after hours? A new bill signed into law last week makes what qualifies as overtime more concrete.
What will change?
State Senators Andrew Brenner (R-Delaware) and Bob Peterson (R-Washington Court House) co-sponsored Senate Bill 47, which makes it so workers cannot receive overtime payments for things like traveling to and from their jobs and activities that would take “insubstantial or insignificant periods of time” outside of work, (which could definitely mean email).
The law also blocks class-action lawsuits for overtime violations from being opt-out. Instead, lawsuits must be classified as opt-in for workers.
“This bill reduces the burden on employees and employers of having to keep track of minimal minutes of unrequired time outside of normal work hours,” Peterson said in a statement. “It also reduces the likelihood of liability and lawsuits arising from unpaid overtime.”
What will not change?
The new rules still allow employees to receive overtime when they are asked to do specific tasks by their boss, or if something is written in a contract.
When does this go into effect?
The new rules go into effect July 6.
The move comes as more people are working from home, blurring the lines between a work/life balance. Opponents of the new rules say they could be harmful to hourly employees who attempt to be paid for all of their work.
Countries like France have given employees the right to choose not to answer work emails after hours, passing a law in 2017 aimed at stopping an “explosion of undeclared labor.”