Will New Overtime Rules Affect Your Telecommuting Options?

[This article originally appeared on the Virtual Vocation blog here.]

Effective December 1, 2016, new federal overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act will extend overtime protections for millions of workers, ensuring fair wages for going above and beyond the 40-hour work week. But how will these new regulations impact your life as a remote worker?

What Are the New Overtime Rules?

Before the close of the year, federal regulations will be enacted to raise the minimum income earnings for salaried workers to qualify for overtime compensation. Basically, if you earn $47,476 per year or more—an increase in the salary threshold from the previous threshold of $23,600 in annual earnings—working full-time, you’ll become eligible for time and a half pay if you work more than 40 hours a week.

Under the new overtime regulations, approximately 13.5 million Americans will directly benefit from the increased salary threshold for overtime wages, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

The industries in which employees qualify for overtime pay will also be updated under the new over overtime regulations. Employees working in administrative and executive positions, which, according to Harvard Business Review, encompass 49 percent of workers benefiting from the overtime rules updates, will now qualify for time and a half pay on overtime labor.

Search Virtual Vocations’ Telecommute Jobs Database today for current administrative telecommute jobs; it’s one of our most popular categories! 

What Will the New Overtime Rules Mean for Telecommuters? 

Until the federal regulations are introduced, it’s difficult to know. The bottom line is: telecommuting is here to stay.

The new overtime rules will force employers to monitor their remote employees more closely, especially since the increased salary threshold and expansion of nonexempt job industries will make millions of workers qualified for overtime pay. This translates to more focused company policies on records keeping and more open lines of communication regarding work expectations.

With that said, there’s no time like the present to discuss your telecommuting arrangement with your employer in anticipation of December 1, 2016. After all, mutual trust must exist in order for telecommuting to work; employers need to be assured that employees are churning out the work that they say they are, on time, and in the hours allotted for them.

Here’s a handful of ways to keep your boss confident about your abilities as a telecommuter:

1. Remind Your Boss of the Employee Benefits

Employees experience decreased stress, increased efficiency, better health, and an overall boost in performance in a remote position. When employees can control their own work environment, it eliminates interruptions and provides large blocks of time for complex problem-solving.

2. Remind Your Boss of the Employer Benefits, Too

Six out of 10 businesses report cost savings, thanks to the increased productivity of employees and the decreased overhead expenses on the part of the employer, as one of the greatest benefits of telecommuting, according to Global Workplace Analytics.

By implementing telecommuting policies, Nortel estimates they save $100,000 per employee that they don’t have to relocate, and IBM has saved approximately $50 million in real estate expenditures alone.

3. If Possible, Work During Regular Business Hours

Sure, it would be great if you could always work at midnight while enjoying late-night television, but unless you’re an astronomer your employer may feel more confident in your ability to complete agreed tasks if you can answer your phone or e-mail during regular business hours.

When you telecommute during standard business hours, you can provide reassurance or input on projects in real-time, making you seem less like a ghost and more like a valuable presence to the organization, despite a lack of physical presence.

4. Have Meetings

Spend at least 10 minutes every week reviewing work priorities via Skype or phone. A quick Monday morning check-in with your manager reinforces that everyone is on the same page, and that your employer knows what to expect from you.

Recently, Virtual Vocations made strides toward improved remote teams management, workflow, and productivity by implementing Slack—a real-time messaging and archival tool geared toward modern teams, much of which rely on telecommute staff—for communication. Within a month, we’ve already experienced soaring rates of team engagement, interdepartmental collaboration, and efficiency.

5. Set Ground Rules

Keep your boss in the loop by establishing schedule expectations in writing. If you agree that you are not going to work more than 8 hours a day, don’t! Set reasonable targets, outline project goals and deliverables, and have each party sign off on the agreement. You may even consider time tracking as another layer of assurance that you worked the hours you say you did.

Do you have concerns about the new overtime rules under the Fair Labor Standards act? Ask your questions when you connect with Virtual Vocations on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and Pinterest. We’d love to hear from you!