Want to Avoid Getting Screwed by the Man? There’s an App for That!

May 15 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

So you think you might be working way more than you’re being paid for, but you don’t have accurate records? There’s an app for that.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced an app this week that will keep track of your hours and determine what you’re owed. The time sheet will help employees independently track the hours they work and determine the wages they are owed. Users can track regular work hours, break time and any overtime hours for one or more employers. It’s available in English and Spanish.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis says:

I am pleased that my department is able to leverage increasingly popular and available technology to ensure that workers receive the wages to which they are entitled. This app will help empower workers to understand and stand up for their rights when employers have denied their hard-earned pay.

The app will allow workers to keep their own records so they don’t have to rely upon employer’s records. This information could prove invaluable during a Wage and Hour Division investigation when an employer has failed to maintain accurate employment records. The WHD enforces Federal minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping, and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The free app is currently compatible with the iPhone and iPod Touch. The Labor Department will explore updates that could enable similar versions for other smartphone platforms, such as Android and BlackBerry, and other pay features not currently provided for, such as tips, commissions, bonuses, deductions, holiday pay, pay for weekends, shift differentials and pay for regular days of rest.

Wage and Hour Division has a printable work hours calendar as well for those without smart phones, and you can go to ITunes.

Workers who complain to their employers about wage violations are protected from retaliation whether the complaints are oral or written according to the Supreme Court in a 6-2 decision (you can guess who the two dissenters were – Justice Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas) in March of 2011. Your complaint must be “clear and detailed” and an ”assertion of rights” under the Fair Labor Standards Act in order to be protected.

As with many of the Obama administration’s other achievements, their record on labor has been largely overlooked. Obama Labor Secretary Hilda Solis has cracked down on employers who violate workplace safety rules.

The app is part of an in to prevent workers from being cheated out of wages and overtime pay. Along those ends, Sec. Solis has also hired 250 investigators to help workers get paid all of the wages that they earn. OSHA also issued a record breaking fine of $87,430,000 to BP after the company was found to have not properly corrected safety issues or protected their workers which led to a massive 2005 explosion at BP’s Texas City, TX oil refinery.

An app may not seem like a huge step, but it demonstrates the change in attitude from Obama to Bush. The Obama administration is trying to help the workers of America get the wages that they are entitled to. Working off the clock is a legitimate and under reported problem. Often employees don’t report this violation of the law because they don’t have the records to do so. This app is an application of modern technology to sad remnant of 19 Century labor relations.

Thanks to Obama, there’s now an app to protect us from the ruthless hand of the man. Chalk another one up for the 21st Century’s most tech savvy president.

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