Most employees think nothing about checking their work email on their Blackberry after they leave the office for the day, but is this creating an overtime pay liability for their employer? According a recent article in Business in Vancouver (Issue 997, December 2-8, 2008), companies should have policies in place to address this matter.

According to Ian Cook, BC HRMA’s director of HR knowledge and research, companies need to make it clear when employees are and are not at work, and what the expectations are around that. Employers need to set parameters to keep from paying overtime.

Gwendoline Allison, a lawyer with Clark Wilson LLP, believes that companies without Blackberry policies may still be liable for claims by employees for additional compensation. She finds that employers need to be clear when employees are required to be available and how they will be compensated for being available.

Blackberry usage outside of normal hours of work is not only a possible overtime pay issue for employers, but also an employee wellness issue due to added stress and pressure, which is best addressed with company policy and guidelines.