wage and hour laws

Wage and hour laws: Why employers should undergo a brief refresher

As the fourth quarter begins, companies should consider a brief review of the federal labor laws governing matters such as minimum wage and overtime rules, with firms planning to add seasonal staff for the holidays perhaps especially in need of a recap of best practices. Anything less than top compliance can leave a firm at risk of an audit -- and potentially enforcement action -- from the U.S. Department of Labor and its Wage and Hour Division. Many DOL investigations begin with a worker complaint. In Fiscal Year 2015, the agancy received close to 22,000 formal compliants, which can be filed at any one of the Wage and Hour Division's more than 200 offices. Overall, the WHD found more than 10,000 overtime and minimum wage violations in the last fiscal year.

The Wage and Hour Division also conducts its owns investigations, with 42 percent of cases in fiscal 2015 stemming from agency initative, per federal data. Moreover, about 4-of-5 investigations generated by WHD in 2015 found wage violations, according to the agency.

On its website, the Wage and Hour Division said it focuses on conducting investigations "where the data and evidence show the problems are largest, where emerging business models lead to violations, and where workers are least likely to exercise their rights."

However, firms of all types have likely had wage-hour compliance on their minds this year, especially with the DOL extending overtime pay eligibilty to many new workers. Under the regulations, which take effect in December, eligible workers making up to $47,446 per year will be in line for overtime pay if working more than 40 hours in a given work week.

In addition, firms hiring hourly workers over the holidays should be aware of the federal and state minimum wage statutes. Adding workers who will collect tips? There are regulations to consider there, too.

The Plexus Groupe can help you ensure your employee benefits compliance efforts aren't missing the mark. For more information, contact a client executive at 847-307-6100 (Deer Park, Ill.), 312-606-4800 (Chicago), 972-770-5010 (Dallas) or 405-840-3033 (Oklahoma City), or contact us via the Web.