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Handyman Employer Beware: Employees Might Be Keeping Secret Records At DOL’s Recommendation

Dec. 5th 2010

Handyman Employer Beware: Employees Might Be Keeping Secret Records At DOL’s Recommendation — Tucked away in a recent U.S. Labor Department e-newsletter was the announcement of a new “Work Hours Calendar.”  It is a time-tracking document that the Wage and Hour Division urges workers to maintain separately from the employer’s official records.  According to the newsletter:

[The] Work Hours Calendar in English and Spanish has been developed to help workers make sure they are properly paid at the end of the work week.  The calendar helps workers track their rate of pay, when they start and stop working, and arrival and departure times.  This information would prove invaluable during an investigation where an employer has failed to maintain accurate employment records.  Designed for use by those who are the most vulnerable workers in the country, the calendar includes easy-to-understand information about worker rights and how to file a wage violation complaint.  The calendar can be ordered by calling 1-866-4US-WAGE (866-487-9243).

[Emphasis added].

Regulations already require employers to keep accurate records of all hours worked by non-exempt employees.  Nevertheless, DOL’s Calendar tells workers:

[I]t is recommended that you keep your own records of all the hours you work and of your pay.  It is recommended that you keep all your pay stubs, information your employer gives you or tells you about your pay rate, how many hours you worked, including overtime, and other information on your employer’s pay practices. This work hours calendar should help you keep as much information as possible.

[Emphasis added].

The Calendar not only contains spaces for each workday’s “start” and “stop” times but also calls for recording the employee’s “arrive” and “leave” times for the day.  We anticipate that this information might be used by DOL in an investigation to examine whether, for example, any compensable work was allegedly performed after the “arrival” time but before the “start” time, and whether the employer properly counted and compensated such time as hours worked, particularly when it comes to any overtime pay due for the workweek.

Despite its otherwise-detailed nature, the Calendar includes nothing calling for the employee to certify, attest, or so much as even acknowledge that the information written on it is accurate and correct.

The Calendar concludes by saying that workers have “the right to be paid fairly,” and that “[i]t is a serious problem when workers in this country are not being paid every cent they earn.”  As we have said in connection with DOL’s We Can Help initiative, statements like this might well lead to employee dissatisfaction about things having nothing to do with any law DOL enforces.  There are of course other compelling reasons to pay employees “fairly” and to be sure they receive “every cent they earn”, but federal wage-hour laws impose no such obligations.

Given today’s supercharged wage-hour litigation environment, and in light of this not-so-subtle urging that employees create an alternate set of records, employers are well-advised to be sure they can demonstrate that their records are the best accounts of all facts relevant to compliance with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and similar laws.

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Insurance might not be the first thing someone thinks about when running a business, but it should be an important consideration.   Handyman insurance is another requirement if you are thinking about starting a handyman business.  This website provides important insurance information on Handyman Insurance Coverage and quotes.

Handyman Insurance Coverage

Handyman insurance includes several types of coverage; each one offers a specific kind of protection for your business.  

(Handyman Insurance ) Commercial Auto: Covers a business's owned, no owned, and hired autos against liability and physical damage losses. 

Handyman Workers Compensation:  If your business as a Handyman employs any staff (including part-time, trainees or sub-contractors), Employers liability insurance cover is a legal requirement.  Employers liability insurance provides protection against your legal liabilities to pay compensation in respect of injury sustained by your employees in the course of your business as a Handyman.  (Handyman Insurance) Workers Compensation: Provides coverage for an employer's responsibility in the event of a work-related injury or illness.   Employers Liability Insurance for handyman work: This type of insurance would cover payment of legal fees and damages in the event that an employee was injured or killed while doing work for you. 

Tradesman Insurance for handymen: This is a package of several different kinds of cover for handymen, making up one policy that meets all your insurance needs.

Public Liability Insurance for handyman work: This type of insurance would cover you if your business activities caused injury or death to a member of the public.

Handyman General Liability - Commercial jobs will require you to have general liability coverage of $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 prior to being hired (not to mention that you protect your assets if something goes wrong on the job).

Products liability insurance for Handymen - Products liability insurance provides protection against your legal liability, compensation costs and expenses following injury or damage by goods that you have sold, supplied, repaired, tested or delivered in connection with your business as a Handyman.  Products Liability insurance for Handymen at 1,000,000 with the option to increase to 2,000,000 up to 5,000,000 or more.  Public Liability insurance cover provides protection against your legal liability for injury to third parties and damage to their property in connection with your business as a Handyman.

Professional Indemnity Insurance for handyman work: This covers you against any mistakes you might make  including bad advice you or your staff might give  that ends up costing your clients money, and leading them to take legal action against you.

(Handyman Insurance ) Umbrella Coverage: A broader form of coverage that extends the limits of liability found in a base policy form. 

Income Protection Insurance - If the essential person should be unable to work for a period of time, this handyman insurance helps to cover the loss of business as a result of the illness or injury.  Having sufficient income protection insurance is also a worth while consideration, if you were to fall off a step ladder or hurt your back and couldnt work, accident, sickness and unemployment insurance could help you to pay for some of your monthly bills in the event of you not being able to work.

The Handyman Insurance Program gives our policyholder comprehensive coverage for their handyman businesses, and the program is designed for Handymen who: Are hired to do a variety of miscellaneous work that would be found in a residential household environment;

Please note that standard home owner's insurance will most likely not cover business assets, and may VOID your home insurance coverage.  If your business is home-based, do you need more liability coverage than your home insurance policy covers. 

The Handyman program gives our policyholder comprehensive coverage for their handyman businesses, and the program is designed for Handymen.

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