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While I have been reluctant to discuss it in detail, the ROWE concept runs smash into the wall of U.S. and State laws declaring work must be paid by time spent rather than ideas generated or results produced. Our national pay legislation bans if not drastically hinders "knowledge" workers from being freed from the timeclock and hobbles employers anxious to release those talents. The hoops you have to jump through to "make someone exempt" from overtime and consequent time-recording requirements are arcane, difficult, poorly understood, antiquated (based on 1930s assembly line practices) and about to get worse.

ROWE is the right idea opposed by the wrong laws. Hi-tech employers are increasingly requiring their virtual workers to sign legal agreements to cease working after "regular hours," to eschew their internet activites and to acknowledge that no overtime will ever be authorized or permitted. The enforcement bureaucrats focus on the hours worked and care nothing for the value produced. Not a surprise, of course, considering their work environment.

How to implement ROWE in a 2012 world ruled by the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act is quite a challenge.

Jim:

Significant point - and one that I'll admit I hadn't even considered. Yet one more way that FLSA inhibits practices and programs that could offer real benefits and upside to workers. Thanks for pointing it out.

Ann

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    Compensation consultant Ann Bares is the Managing Partner of Altura Consulting Group. Ann has more than 20 years of experience consulting with organizations in the areas of compensation and performance management.

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