Frequently Asked Questions
HourVoice was conceived and built in “The City of Big Shoulders” – Chicago, Illinois, with help from various smart people around the U.S. who buy into our mission to help hourly workers.
Good question. Right now, we don’t. Given that we’re not millionaires, we need to fix that.
Various groups have said that the information we gather is valuable. For example, labor unions can identify “hot shops” or workers who would be interesting in organizing (we don’t sell names or emails, however.) Labor lawyers routinely pay for referrals (subject to ethical guidelines that we will abide by). Enforcement officials might also pay for data that indicates “bad actor” employers.
As mentioned above, we don’t sell people’s names or their email addresses. We will, however, present opportunities to users that they can “opt into” or reject on a case-by-case basis.
HourVoice – the app – is the free worker empowerment tool. If you work hourly, you can confidentially rate your employer(s), find better ones, track your hours and learn about your rights.
HourVoice – the data service – is a transparency platform. It anonymizes, aggregates and analyzes data that’s confidentially provided by workers. The analytics can be used by worker advocates to identify patterns of worker abuse and highlight opportunities to help those workers. While we don’t sell names or email addresses, we do broker safe, opt-in contact between advocates and workers.
HourVoice – the company – is a social enterprise based in Chicago. It plans to “shift the equilibrium” in the market for labor, first locally, then throughout the United States, then globally. For more, see HourVoice’s mission.
You should use HourTracker right after every shift. Get in this habit, and you’ll have a complete, accurate record of your time that will help you get paid for all the hours you work, and get all the overtime pay you’re due. This way, if you’re ever shorted hours, you’ll have documentation to back up your wage claim. Not having this documentation makes it more difficult to get the money that’s owed you.
According to Hart Research Associates, 9 in 10 fast food workers don’t get all the pay they earned.
Employers can make mistakes when recording your hours, and unethical employers intentionally “short” their workers on hours.
And a common employer error is not paying overtime properly. If you’re eligible for overtime pay, any hours you work over 40 in a week (usually) have to be paid at 1.5 times your normal hourly wage.
By tracking your hours in HourTracker, you can catch any mistakes your employer makes, and you’ll know what your gross pay should be (including overtime). Fixing the problem might be as simple as showing your supervisor your HourTracker records.
Unfortunately, bad employers might short you on hours or overtime pay on purpose, and you might need to get legal or government help to get the money you’re owed. Having your own record of the hours you worked is important documentation to support your claim. People who don’t have these records have a much more difficult time recovering lost pay. And because HourVoice “timestamps” your log entries, you can prove you kept timely records that will better stand up in court.
So, at the end of every shift, record your hours on HourTracker, and build a Timesheet every pay period for each of your jobs.
Privacy and security concerns dominate our implementation.
For example, we store our data on secured servers. We encrypt some personally identifiable information, such as your email address and password, to make it extremely difficult for hackers to read it even if they were able to access those servers. We use essentially the same precautions as those required by HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).
HourVoice is a valuable service you can provide your members. When your members use HourVoice, they:
- Better understand their rights, and increase their leverage with their employers. You can supply workers with insights unique to their industry, so they learn exactly what they need to know to protect themselves.
- Have accurate records of their hours worked, in case there’s a dispute and they have to back up their claim.
In additions, you:
- Get data on how your members are faring in the workplace, and how to better help them.
- Can use that data to pressure bad actors and steer workers to high road employers.
- Through HourVoice’s Broker Contacts capability, you can reach out to non-members and increase your ranks.
Organizations that sign up workers during our launch phase will have free access to the collected data for at least 3 months, and will get preferential pricing thereafter. Also, pricing for Worker Centers (and similar organizations) will be free for the foreseeable future.
You can use HourVoice when you’re at work, but only when you’re on break. You don’t want to get in trouble with your supervisor.
Outside of work, you can of course use HourVoice any time you want. As always, we recommend you log your shift right after it ends. That way it’s fresh in your mind and our “timestamp” will demonstrate – if you ever need to file a wage theft claim – that you’re keeping timely records.
Anyone who works for an hourly wage can use HourVoice.
By the way, the more people like you who use HourVoice, the more value you’ll get from it:
- More members means more employer recommendations, and more accurate information.
- There’s safety in numbers. More members improves your safety.
- More members means more respect. If HourVoice becomes “a thing,” you and your co-workers will be more effective in asserting your rights.
So, please ask your friends and co-workers to use HourVoice, and encourage them to invite their friends and co-workers.
You should use HourVoice every day that you work, if only to use the HourTracker feature.
The HourTracker lets you record your shifts at each of your jobs and lets you compare your total hours and gross pay with the pay statement you get from your employer. That way you know that you’re being properly paid.
Using the HourTracker at the end of every shift means you’ll have accurate data to use when you check your pay stubs. And, if you ever have to ask for missing pay, you’ll probably need documentation to back up your claim.
Make sure you’re off duty when using HourVoice.
But there are other reasons to use HourVoice regularly:
Answering HourVoice Questions
Knowledge is power. Every time you answer an HourVoice question, you get an Insight that tells you something about your work rights and how to assert those rights. You can also share these insights with friends and co-workers.
HourVoice also updates employer scores and recommendations when other HourVoice members answer questions about their employers.
By using HourVoice, you:
- Can track your hours and compare them against your pay stubs. This way you have document that can help you get paid for all your work.
- Will learn more about your rights in the workplace.
- Be able to find better employers – those that pay more, provide more benefits, provide more hours, etc. The more, accurate data that users provide, the more they can see about other employers.
- Add your voice to that of other HourVoice members, making things better for your friends, co-workers and other hourly workers.