Should hourly employees be compensated for accessing a mobile app?

Our enterprise customers often ask, “Will I need to compensate my employees for using Red e App during non-working hours?” And our simple answer is a question or two, or three (or more).

  • Do you have to compensate your employees if you call them during non-working hours?
  • Or, what if you hand them a hard copy summary of your recent in-person training so that they may reference it at their convenience/leisure after a training session has taken place. If they decide to take the information home in hard copy form – must you compensate them if they decide to re-read your material?
  • If you need to call an employee to ask if they would care to pick up an overtime shift – is the phone call compensated as a work hours?
  • If you provide employees folders, papers, hard copy materials related to insurance enrollment, an employee hand book perhaps, or frequently asked questions about their benefits or employment, or maybe phone directories – is an employer liable for their time in consuming / reading / reviewing the material at home?

Using an app is very similar. The channel is just altered as our access to technology has evolved. You are notifying the employee via a message rather than a voice call, and you can do so to 10s or 100s or 1000s of people at the same time rather than using a phone tree, posters, closed circuit TV or US Mail … genius (at least we think so).

So, where does the issue lie? What are we ultimately afraid of?  Ill tell you – it’s with the often antiquated or outdated fear of legal risk or repercussions and with the data and voice carrier charges that may come into play. So, what is an employer responsible for? Let’s explore the complex version of our answer.

Our CEO addressed this exact question during a recent webinar, here’s his answer …



Current BYOD (bring your own device) legislation only applies to phone calls required for work that are made on a personal mobile device. For example, an employer cannot require an employee use their personal device for work-related calls without compensation (such as delivery drivers and repair technicians). Many organizations that have field-based employees requiring phone use issue corporate phones to their employees.

Red e App is designed to fit within your company’s existing mobile device policy and to help improve communications by creating a new channel. You are already connecting with your employees through bulletin boards, mailings, and phone calls. Red e App provides an immediate and mobile-first way for employees to receive these messages digitally.

Red e App is most often positioned as an opt-in program available to help employees stay connected with their employer and better communicate with management. Each Red e App client distributes a customized set of terms and conditions to their employees upon downloading to help establish the culture and parameters for Red e App in their organization.

The Terms of Use statement establishes that the app is opt-in, and it clearly states that any data usage from downloading, sending/receiving messages, and accessing files will not necessarily be reimbursed by the employer.

A sample Terms of Use statement is available upon request. The sample has been adopted from a global manufacturing company that is using Red e App to connect with its hourly workers. A Terms of Use document can be immediately and automatically delivered to an employee when he/she connects to your company’s private Red e App network.

Amee Kent
Red e App Marketing Director 


Disclaimer: Red e App cannot specifically advise your organization on the best course for legal compliance and recommends that you consult with your legal counsel before implementation.


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