There probably aren’t too many BlackBerry users that would claim that they don’t use their device outside of business hours. The big question, however, is should these employees get paid overtime when they do?
ITWeeks Martin Courtney feels that “Just because mobile technology allows us to keep in touch with the office 24/7, we should not feel obliged to do so.”
What is needed is a clever piece of enterprise software that records each time an employee logs in to check email, and tots up the number of minutes or hours they spend outside normal office hours reading or replying to work-related messages.
Personally, I feel that even though I use my BlackBerry outside of regular work hours, doing so actually allows me to leave the job a lot closer to 5:00 than I ever did before I got my first BlackBerry.
Do you think you should get paid overtime for working on your BlackBerry outside of work hours? Let us know…
you could argue that you should get paid for every email you read or send outside of office hours, but on the flip side should your company pull back small amounts of your salary for every time you take a couple of minutes to check out a website or make a personal phone call when you are at the office? I think you have your answer!
it’s attitudes like this will lead to the downfall of the competitiveness of the US. we are in a dog eat dog world and there are tons of countries like china and india wanting our wealth. they are willing to do whatever possible to get ahead. my blackberry allows me to stay ahead of the competition (or at least stay on par) so i just figure its part of the globally competitive world. we could unionize blackberry use as well 🙂
If you’re an employee who is paid by the hour, then I think that you could argue that checking e-mail outside of normal business hours is “overtime” that you could be compensated for.
But as BBAdmin stated, do you really want to open the Pandora’s Box of having every minute in the office scrutinized and accounted for? Having your bathroom and smoking breaks timed?
And how are we supposed to track how much “work” you do when checking BB e-mail? Suppose I open a long message in my Inbox and then set the BB down to watch TV for an hour? If I later claimed I spent an hour digesting that e-mail, who’s to prove me wrong?
Even if such use could be accurately tracked, and fraud and abuse could be controlled, would any business be interested in investing the time and money into doing so?
I suspect the question is moot for a large majority of BB users who are salaried employees and for whom overtime never comes into play. If you find that you need to use your BB at night or on weekends, and by doing so, you are working far beyond what your job requirements demand, it’s time to ask for a raise.
I think that you should get paid overtime for Blackberry usage if you are spending a significant amount of time working outside of the office via the device. One or two hours of emailing, texting, and taking phone calls after hours (and possibly on weekends) should be expected. Sometimes you have to put out fires and with the price of gas, the ability to do it from your couch should be a bonus.
If you are spending 5-10 hours on the Blackberry outside of work, your company should have the decency to give you a bigger-than-average bonus. If you are using the BB over 10 hours a week outside of the office, that’s when overtime pay should come into play. If you’re a salaried employee it should be understood that not all work can be done in a 40 hour work week, especially if there are projects that require working in groups. The vast majority of salaried people who are not in management don’t usually work a 50 hour week, so overtime should apply. If you are in a Management, Executive, or Directorial role, your salary, bonuses, perks, and responsibilities should compensate for an extra 10-20 hours of work outside of the office per week.
Personally I think that businesses should allow people to telecommute more often. People wouldn’t be stressed out, have poor health, and freak out about answering their BB after 5pm if they could work at home two days a week. Less cars would be on the road, it would be better for the environment, and ironically more work would get done.
Hell, I would be happy if my company just paid for my service charges.
I think that it completely depends on what is expected. If the employer expects an all access pass to the employee via their blackberry, they should be compensated via some kind of on call payment system.
If however it is considered a kind of ‘best effort’ scenario, where the employee is expected to respond if it suits them, then no, they should not be compensated.
Another issue is whether or not it is stated or implied in the job description. Is it stated that you will be available 24/7? If so compensation should be set forth. However, if you agree to work on a salary of x dollars, knowing that it is right in your job description, shame on you for not asking for compensation in the first place.
When they re-evaluate your job is when you can speak up. Until then, those 3 am calls from the CFO trying to run end of quarter jobs simply can’t wait.
The focus of a job should be the accomplishment of your responsibilities within an agreed timeframe and NOT making sure the employee is focused every second of every shift doing company work. Should you be docked the time it takes for a sneeze and tissue cleanup? What about bathroom visits: on company time or hold it until your scheduled for a break? People who accept jobs that entail increased responsibility, should be informed of the possibility of being contacted in an EMERGENCY. If management needs to contact an employee off hours for non-emergency matters, maybe it needs to review how it handles business.