Can an employer not pay an employee for working from home during maternity leave?

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Can an employer not pay an employee for working from home during maternity leave?

I work at a magazine company in Louisiana and design several publications
a month. During maternity leave I plan to continue my work from home,
but my employer does not want to pay me for my work, even though I will
be producing the same amount as if I were at the office… basically
producing value for them for free. Is this legal?

Asked on March 29, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Louisiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, it's not legal. While there's a certain de minimis or trivial amount of work that employees can be expected to do while on leave without being paid (checking emails, answering the occasional quick question, etc.), if you do any appreciable amount of work, you should be paid for it--quite simply, under the labor laws and also under basic common law (e.g. contractual principals; or "unjust enrichment"), when an employee works, she must be paid. You could potentially file a wage and hour complaint if you have to keep working from home without being paid; if it comes to that, try speaking with your state department of labor and/or consulting with an employment law attorney about a lawsuit.


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