Should people get overtime for replying to off-hours messages?

“Anyone familiar with the ping of a late-night e-mail, a weekend call from a boss or a mid-dinner glance at a text message has felt the inescapability of work in the age of smartphones. But while constant connectedness has become the norm, it has also become a source of overtime litigation — and attorneys say that could increase under a proposal from the Obama administration to make millions more salaried Americans eligible for overtime, including many in managerial positions,” writes Chicago Tribune reporter Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz.

“As managers, they are more likely to be checking in during off hours,” said Phillip Schreiber, a Chicago-based employment lawyer at Holland & Knight who represents businesses and is not involved in the police suit.

The new overtime rule proposed by the Labor Department last month would raise to $50,440 the minimum salary an employee must make before he or she can be classified as exempt from overtime, which would be up from $23,660. The government estimates that would extend overtime pay to nearly 5 million salaried workers in a range of professions, from store managers to staff accountants, who currently are exempt under “white collar” provisions. The salary threshold doesn’t affect certain workers, including teachers, outside sales representatives and certain hourly computer professionals.

Today’s Question: Should people get overtime for replying to off-hours messages?