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Did you know that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the most violated of all of Federal employment laws?
The FLSA sets minimum wage, overtime, recordkeeping and child labor standards on a Federal level. These laws form the baseline level of wage and hour protection for workers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. They include everything from current minimum wage laws and the federal law regarding exempt employees and overtime to rules for allowable paycheck deductions. Most employers are required to inform employees about these rules by posting federal labor law posters (and often, state labor posters) that list the current minimum wage, and basic FLSA rules.
FLSA standards require employers to pay most employees at least the current minimum wage level (a few categories of employment, such a restaurant wait staff, are exempt from this protection.)
The laws define maximum work hours, mandated lunch and rest breaks, and a special wage and hour law guide line for employed children and teens. The FLSA also covers the differences between hourly and salaried employees working hours and the federal penalties for wage and hour violations.
One of the basic aspects of these FLSA employment laws in the work place is in defining the different types of pay an employee can receive for his or her labors. Employers run into trouble when they’re not familiar with the differences, and mistakenly pay an employee the wrong type of wage. These errors can result in costly fines and penalties for wage and hour violations.
Employers need to be sure each employee’s job and supervisory responsibilities correspond to his or her pay category. A qualified labor law attorney or a well researched and up to date FLSA guidebook is critical for employers who need to comply with employment laws in the work place.
Simply calling someone a salaried or exempt employee does not make it so. If an employee can later prove that they were not technically exempt, your violation of Federal overtime laws might mean you owe them thousands in back pay, plus penalties.
The only way to protect your company from penalties is by knowing which employees are eligible for overtime pay and which are exempt. The law provides a number of tests by which employers can make this decision, but unfortunately, many employers have not taken the time to review those critical labor laws. The resulting fines and judgments can be a costly reminder of their errors.
States also create their own wage and hour laws that may give even greater protection to workers. When two laws conflict, employers must follow the law that provides the greater benefit (or is most protective of) the employee.
For instance, if state and federal overtime laws offer differing levels of employee compensation for extra hours worked, your company must follow the law that provides employees with the higher level of pay.
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