The Fair Labor Standards Act is essentially the Minimum Wage and Overtime Act; it sets the federal standard for the minimum employers can pay employees and establishes the 40 hour per week or 80 hour per week standard for the maximum hours employees can work before an employer has to pay them overtime. But, there’s more to the act than simply making sure you pay your employees properly. How can you comply with the FLSA and ensure that in the event an employee decides to sue you for unpaid overtime that you’re protected? Our friends at the Mughal Law Firm, PLLC have provided their take on this matter.
Know Your Industry
One of the most common pitfalls that employers fall into is thinking that overtime is only for hourly employees. That is not the case. In fact, the only workers who are not entitled to overtime are those specifically made exempt by the FLSA. Examples include those who are executives, work in administration, are professionals (defined as those who require an academic degree to perform their job functions), or those who are employed as babysitters on a casual basis. So if you are employing retail workers who receive a salary, and are not paying them overtime, then an overtime attorney can help make sure you properly deal with the situation before those employees decide to file a lawsuit.
Keep Full and Accurate Records
Part of the FLSA’s requirements is to keep full and accurate records of the hours your employees have worked, when they worked those hours, and what they were paid for those hours worked. If you do not, you could have problems going forward. Employees under the FLSA are subject to the standard of reasonableness; if they can demonstrate by a reasonable degree of certainty that they worked x hours and were compensated with y wages, in the absence of accurate records stating otherwise the judge will side with the employee. Obviously this doesn’t mean that an employee can claim to work 100 hours in a five day period in the absence of records, but if the employee claims to have worked 72 hours a week over a 6 day workweek, coming out to 12 hours a day, that could reasonably be proven if you don’t keep accurate records. So be sure to keep accurate records of your employees’ hours, either by electronic time clock software or some other means.