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Common ways employers may try to shortchange remote workers’ pay

On Behalf of | Apr 4, 2024 | Wage & Hour Laws

Many employees in Illinois work remotely. However, employers may use strategies that purposefully or inadvertently shortchange their remote workers.

It is important for employees to be aware of potential pitfalls and common ways employers may undercut pay for remote workers.

Offer lower compensation

In some cases, employers may offer lower compensation for remote positions under the guise of cost savings or geographic differentials. However, this practice can perpetuate inequities and undervalue the contributions of remote workers. They may possess the same qualifications and perform similar duties as their in-office counterparts.

Misclassify them as independent contractors

One common tactic is misclassifying remote workers as independent contractors rather than employees. Reasons employers do this may include tax savings. However, it can deprive workers of essential protections and entitlements, such as minimum wage, overtime pay and workers’ compensation.

Fail to reimburse necessary expenses

Remote work often requires employees to incur expenses related to equipment, internet access and utilities. Employers may attempt to avoid reimbursing these expenses. This may disproportionately impact remote workers who already face higher costs associated with working from home.

Ignore overtime regulations

Illinois law mandates that nonexempt employees receive overtime pay for hours worked beyond the standard 40-hour workweek. Employers may attempt to sidestep these regulations by either failing to accurately track remote workers’ hours or pressuring employees to work “off the clock.”

Implement unreasonable monitoring practices

Some level of monitoring may be necessary for productivity and security purposes. However, excessive monitoring can infringe on employees’ privacy and lead to feelings of distrust. Employers may use invasive monitoring tools without adequately considering the impact on remote workers’ well-being and morale.

All employees in Illinois, whether remote or not, deserve an equitable and supportive work environment.