Protecting the rights of workers and keeping your business compliant with employment laws is a serious matter, and is why the FLSA was created in 1938. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employees are provided with a fair wage, reasonable hours and safe working conditions. Failing to adhere to regulations and employment laws can lead to criminal violations and other problems that can disrupt operations.
What You Need to Know about the Fair Labor Standards Act
According to the United States Department of Labor, “the FLSA establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping, and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments.” The current minimum wage as of mid-2014 is $7.25 per hour. Nonexempt workers must receive overtime pay for any hours exceeding 40 in a workweek.
Minors must not work excessive hours to the point that it conflicts with their education or be placed in situations/environments that could be hazardous to their health. It’s your responsibility to keep track of the time that employees work and the amount of money that they earn. You must also place an official FLSA poster in your workplace so it can be viewed at any time. This link allows you to print off a PDF version of the poster.
How Can Affect You as an Employer?
If you employ minors under the age of 16, there are definite limitations on how much time they work. For instance, they can’t work any longer than three hours on a school day or eight hours on a non-school day. They can’t work longer than 18 hours in a school week or 40 hours in a non-school week. Anyone under the age of 18 cannot be exposed to dangerous conditions and there may be limitations on the duties they can perform. For example, a minor may not be able to operate an oven or handle knives in a restaurant.
In terms of payment, workers must be given minimum wage. The exception is for tip-based workers like waiters and bar tenders. However, if the total sum of an employee’s earnings don’t equal minimum wage, then you are required to make up the difference. In some cases, you can receive a credit for tipped employees as long as there is a guaranteed minimum for their work.
If you have employees that commonly work more than 40 hours per week, the Fair Labor Standards Act requires you to pay them at least one and one-half times their regular pay. Consequently, you may need to hire more workers and divide hours more equally if meeting this compensation requirement is an issue.
Understanding how the FLSA works is important for keeping your business on the right side of the law. It also helps to create a positive work environment and ensures that the basic rights of your employees are met. The end result should be happy and healthy workers, which can improve the overall reputation of your company.
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