This is the time of year when everyone begins thinking of resolutions for the new year and reflecting on the resolutions we made way back when for 2012. Employer compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage/hour laws continues to be at the forefront of most workplaces. So in the spirit of the holiday season and the upcoming new year, here are is our list of top five wage/hour resolutions for 2013. Enjoy!
• Check for state-based minimum wage changes. For example, on January 1, 2013, Florida’s minimum wage increases to $7.79; Arizona’s and Montana’s minimum wage increases to $7.80; and Ohio’s minimum wage increases to $7.85.
• Audit and update exemptions. Evaluate whether employees are appropriately classified, especially in departments that lend themselves to errors such as accounting, finance, IT, and human resources. Are exempt employees meeting the expectations for their jobs and do job duties match up with job descriptions?
• Monitor compliance with meal periods and break periods. Review a sampling of employee pay records to determine if employees are clocking in and out for meal periods. For workplaces with automatic meal breaks, evaluate whether employees are completely relieved of their job duties during meal periods. For example, employees should not be eating at their desks.
• Review independent contractor and unpaid intern classifications. The start of a new calendar year and a new academic term is a great time to take a closer look at workers who have been classified as either independent contractors or unpaid interns. Do the relationships these workers have with the company comply with the Department of Labor’s test for unpaid interns and/or the applicable control tests for independent contractors. For those workers who are correctly classified, is the appropriate contract or written documentation in place to support the company’s position.
• Review record keeping policies. Monitor workplace record keeping. Are employee pay records being maintained for 3 years and/or the appropriate time period under applicable state wage laws? How are records maintained? If records are maintained electronically, is there a backup system in place?