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Disclaimer: The information presented below is meant to serve as a guideline on things you need to know about federal and state wage and hour laws. You should never use this as a substitute for qualified legal advice. To know more about wage and hour law, get in touch with an employment law attorney who can walk you through the ins and outs.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protects employees by establishing minimum wages, record keeping, youth employment standards, and overtime pay. This is why, as an employer, you should familiarize yourself with the law.
If you abuse your employees in any way, decreasing their wages on purpose, cheating them on their bonuses and overtime pay, or overworking them, you’ll be legally liable. Even if you’re the owner of the company, and your employees are people that you’re paying to work for you, you have to respect their rights. If you’re unfamiliar with the wage and hour law, here are the key things you need to know.
Classifying Employees and Contractors
Understanding the different types of employees and contractors enables you to know how much they should receive from you and how many hours they can work for you.
They usually work at least a minimum of 36 hours a week.
They’re employees who work less than 36 hours a week and are often given a flexible schedule.
These employees only work for you for a specific period of time. They can become a permanent hire after they’ve passed the probationary period.
This type of employee can work either full-time or part-time. However, you can dismiss them anytime, without warning or reason, and they can quit of their own will.
These are employees who are employed by another company but have been offered to perform HR work for your business.
Employees of this type share a full-time job. They divide the 40 hours and share the employee benefits.
7. Independent Contractors
They’re workers who work for you under a contract or agreement. You have full control of their schedule and can demand they work anytime you want them to.
They’re workers you employ to perform a specified duty. For example, a freelance writer or freelance tutor.
They’re members of a company who you employ to perform contractual duties. For example, if you’re an owner of a construction company, you’ll hire an electrician to install wiring in a building you’re constructing.
These are employees who have worked for you for a long time and who have seniority. An example is a tenured professor.
They’re employees who work under your guidance to learn specific skills that are necessary for the trade. An example is an apprentice plumber.
They’re employees who work for you in order to learn. They’re almost the same as apprentices, but they’re training for white-collar jobs and professional careers. For example, an intern doctor is working under a diagnostician.
Understanding how time tracking works will enable you to avoid overworking your employees and adequately compensate them for their hours.
1. The Responsibility Of Keeping Track of Hours Worked
As an employer, it’s your responsibility, not your employees’, to record the actual work hours of all your nonexempt employees.
You may use:
- Time cards
- Computerized time clocks
- Time record programs
- Time clocks
- Online tracking software
Whatever tool you choose is fine; what matters is that the information is correct and precise. Your labor commissioner must be satisfied with the documentation of hours worked.
2. Information That Needs to be Recorded on the Timesheet
For every working day, you should record the following:
- Time your employees started and ended working
- Time your employees began and finished their meal break
- The total amount of overtime they’ve earned
You should ensure that all of your timecards reflect all the information mentioned above. The information should be collected on a daily, weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly basis. You should also ensure that your employees and their supervisor sign the timecards, confirming that the hours are accurate.
There should also be a way to record leave and absences, as this allows both the employer and employee to keep track of potential time to make up for or time to be used as sick leave. If for instance you have been a victim of a car accident, it’s helpful not only to consult legal advice for compensation from sources such as this site, but also to consult your employees as to how this can affect your time logged.
Knowing when your employees are working overtime for you and how to compensate them when they do is a very important duty of an employer.
1. Understanding Overtime
Overtime is the number of hours worked over the typical number of hours in every work week.
2. Determining Overtime Pay
For non-exempt employees who are covered, you’re required to pay the employees who work over 40 hours of in a week at a rate that’s not less than one and a half multiplied by their regular hourly pay.
3. Defining the Start of the Work Week
The work week consists of the days of the week that are dedicated to labor. These days don’t necessarily coincide with the calendar week. It’s essential that you define the exact days of the week that your company’s work week begins and ends. Doing this will allow you to figure out how many hours in a specific week a specific employee has worked overtime.
If you give your employees bonuses each month, the bonus should be factored into their overall compensation.
As an employer, a thorough understanding of the law is essential. You should know what actions to avoid and what practices to keep. It’s also essential that you hire a company lawyer, so you have someone to guide you and help you understand how the wage and hour law works. You may be the boss, but that doesn’t make you above the law.
Adeline Robinson is one of most promising young law writers. She writes pieces on law topics for common readers. She is an avid sports fan and loves watching games if she has free time.