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Q: I received an email from an employee stating that he is sick, but will be working from home. Should I allow my employee to work remotely while sick? What are the FLSA implications of allowing an employee to work from home while sick?
A: The practice of working remotely or telecommunicating has become increasingly popular given technological advancements like smart phones, videoconferencing, and instant messaging services. While telecommuting provides several benefits for employers and employees, it can also create new challenges such as when employees opt to work from home while sick.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), requires employers to pay employees for all time spent completing productive work, regardless if the employer knew that the work was being performed. Although this rule applies to both exempt and non-exempt employees, an employee’s exempt status determines how one’s payment will be calculated when he or she is working from home while sick.