I'd imagine this would vary quite a bit from geo to geo depending on local law. But are you technically working if you think about work after hours, write it down and discuss with a colleague the next day? Either you have to define logging on to internal social software systems as 'not working' (and whether you can do this or not probably depends on local employment law) or you have to discourage hourly paid employees from logging in out of hours
Only lawyers would come up with this stuff.
I feel it should be communicated in your community policy. State that employees have the option of accessing the community on their own time, but no obligation.
Then, ensure managers understand that they can not compel their hourly employees to access the site on their own time.
This is actually very easy.
Post a policy that clearly states that employees access after assigned work hours do so on a strictly personal and voluntary basis, and will not receive compensation for doing so. Going futher, any claim for primary work hours (or overtime) must be at the direction of their supervisor. If your supervisor doesn't tell you to log on to the social site, no claim can be made for time worked.
Imagine I was an hourly worker at a retail store, and I dropped by to say "hi" to everyone during off hours. There would be no reasonable expectation that I would be compensated for doing so. Even if I decided to "help out" for a few minutes.
Any undergrad at legal school could figure this one out.
I think they either have really bad lawyers, or there's an entirely different agenda here.
Such issues are strictly ruled by federal law in many countries, such as France, Finland, Germany (and many more I guess), and can't be overridden by company policies.
Moreover: an employer encouraging collaborators to log-in after hours has to compensate them for any such efforts - easy and fair, isn't it? Otherwise the employer has to strictly forbid using the system outside of the contracted working hours. Then any log-in would be an infringement of the emplioyment contract.
Just spoke with a retail store prospect, and I brought up this issue, since they faced it as well. They have gotten around it by communicating that store employees can access their social business software environment after hours as part of an existing 2 hours/day of learning and development that is made available to store employees. This has been approved by their legal department, apparently.
Instructing non-exempt employees not to work after hours does not free you from the legal obligation to pay for work that is actually performed by these employees. We're taking the approach of reminding our non-exempt employees in the Terms & Conditions for the site that they must accurately report all time spent working - including time spent doing actual work for the company after hours. That way, we can make sure they're being paid for all hours they report working, and also take corrective action if they are spending more time than appropriate/authorized for overtime work.
Awesome, thanks so much, Claire! I'm going to share your response with my retail prospect...