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Department of Labor Issues Guidance on Teleworking

March 9, 2023

Olivia Hariharan Godt - Tonkon Torp LLP

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The U.S. Department of Labor has issued guidance for teleworking employees. While the DOL did not announce any new rules, they clarified that the following existing rules continue to apply, even if an employee is teleworking:

  • Teleworking employees must be paid for their short breaks of 20 minutes or less.
  • Teleworking employees do not need to be paid for breaks longer than 20 minutes if they are completely relieved of duty and can use the time effectively for their own purposes.
  • Employers must provide teleworking nursing employees reasonable break time to express breast milk and provide a place shielded from view and free from intrusion.
  • In the remote context, this means the employer must ensure that the employee is free from observation by any employer-provided video systems, computer cameras, security cameras, or web conferencing platform.
  • If a remote worker chooses to attend a virtual meeting or conference call while expressing milk, they must be paid for that time.
  • When determining FMLA eligibility, the teleworker’s worksite is not their home, it is the office to which they report or from which their assignments are made.

Employers should confirm that their current teleworking policies align with this guidance. Contact Tonkon Torp if you need help drafting a teleworking policy or checking your current policy for compliance.

This update is prepared for the general information of our clients and friends. It should not be regarded as legal advice. If you have questions about the issues raised here, please contact any of the attorneys in our Labor & Employment Practice Group, or the attorney with whom you normally consult.

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