BYOD and Federal Wage Laws

As most SMBs know, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a popular way for organizations to allow their employees to use personal electronic devices in place of company-supplied equipment. It is convenient to let employees use their own mobile devices instead of carrying extra items, especially when they work remotely.

This policy can surely make your staff happy. But it also positions your business to face potential risky issues that should be explicitly addressed by any business owner or employer prior to letting it happen. The most critical issue is the security of company data and the protection of the rest of the business network systems the BYOD item comes in contact with.

The security issue is obvious and gets a lot of spotlight. However, there are other concerns that are also important. We want to address one that does not get enough attention: federal and state wage laws. Most BYOD policies come from the IT department or Managed Services Provider, where technology concerns about data security monopolize the stage.

BYOD is also an issue for your Human Resource department (or a business owner) because of legal aspects.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA, 1938) defines a framework for the handling of exempt and non-exempt employees and paying wages above the law’s definition of a 40-hour work week that includes overtime compensation for labor performed beyond that threshold.

Under FLSA two basic classes of workers are outlined: e

  • Non-exempt: workers who must be compensated for overtime when performing work-related duties in excess of 40 hours.
  • Exempt: workers who are not required to be paid for additional work hours over the 40-hour limit.

In essence, non-exempt employees must be compensated for all work-related activities, regardless of whether those duties were performed inside or outside of regular working hours.

Here is an example: employees who send or respond to messages and emails from home “after hours.” This is not a problem for an exempt employee. However, it presents s a very real issue for non-exempt workers going over a 40-hour threshold. This is a type of work activity that must be compensated and accounted for, and it becomes a liability for an employer.

Possible ways to approach BYOD policy in light of Federal Wage laws

  1. Ban the use of BYOD for work-related activity outside of specifically scheduled work hours.
  2. Allow use of BYOD only for exempt status employees. That means that business-issued devices should not be permitted for non-exempt workers outside of working hours and/or not allowed to be taken outside of your business facilities.
  3. Consider device management technology, often referred to as Mobile Device Management (MDM). MDM is an approach to the partitioning of work and personal data on separately and individually used devices. Doing so limits employee’s access to data and applications and their use only to certain, business-authorized time window. A managed service provider would be the best resource for determining MDM as a solution to conform to The Fair Labor Standards Act requirements.
Scroll to Top