Why Are Wage & Hour Case Filings Coming in Staggering Numbers?

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 has long been responsible for setting the minimum wage (currently $7.25 per hour), guaranteeing overtime wages, and establishing record keeping practices and regulations. Attorneys have been flocking to wage and hour law suits in staggering numbers over the past 6 years due to the financial incentive they bring; they are easier to prove than discrimination cases and almost guarantee a win for the Attorney, as any violation no matter how small will result in a reasonable attorney’s fee award. As recently demonstrated in a case in which an employee was awarded $6,000+ in unpaid overtime wages, and the attorney was awarded $125,000+ in fees and costs.

Since 2000, there has been a 438% rise in the number of cases filed. The most common have been sighting an employer for not paying all hours worked and for the misclassification of employees as exempt from overtime. The number of cases filed each year is speculated to spike even higher with the proposed changes coming to the FLSA in the form of a raise in the minimum wage, along with updating the regulations regarding who qualifies for overtime protection.

You may not be able to ward off all wage and hour claims, but you can take preemptive steps to safeguard your company. Reviewing your current employee classifications (Exempt, Non-Exempt, 1099), updating any time and attendance policies and practices, and making sure that your record keeping is in line with the current FLSA regulations, will lessen your exposure to a wage and hour claim. HR Strategies can help you reduce your risk and vulnerabilities to a FLSA regulations lawsuit, along with the many other Federal, State, Local and Professional Regulatory changes.  Call us today to relieve your stress of whether or not you are in compliance; and give yourself the ability to focus on the aspects of your company for which you went into business, while we handle the behind the scenes issue of compliance. G

Give us a call today at 770-339-0000

World No Tobacco Day is Tomorrow…

Are You Tobacco Free?

HR Strategies clients have access to EAP, our Employee Assistance Program. EAP can help our clients quit their tobacco use. Call us today to learn more about our EAP!World No Tobacco DayTo See More Info click Here

Employee FAQs about Child Labor Laws

The following Frequently Asked Questions are from the Georgia Department of Labor’s Website. For more info, you can contact HR Strategies at 770.339.0000 today!

Q: Do I need a work permit if I am a minor working as a volunteer?

A: A work permit is not required if you are not getting paid or receiving compensation for your services.

Q: I work in a restaurant and have a 12-year old daughter. I do not want to leave her home during the day on non-school days. May I take her to work with me? Can she clear tables and sweep/mop floors as long as she is there anyway?

A: Child labor laws do not apply in simply bringing her to work with you. It is strictly up to the “boss” if you are allowed to bring your child with you. However, she may not do any work at all.

Q: I am 16 years of age. What time does the boss have to let me off in the evenings on a school night?

A: There are no restriction on hours for minors 16 years of age and above. (No cutoff hour; no maximum number of hours per day).

Q: Where do I get a work permit?

A: A minor can get a completed work permit from the school the minor attends. If a minor does not attend school OR if the school does not maintain a supply of work permit data sheets, one may be obtained from the county school superintendent’s office. A minor will need to take a copy of a certified birth certificate to have a completed work permit issued.

Q: Can I start a work permit online?

A: Yes, the work permit data sheet can be started on-line. Use the link below to access the online work permit system designed to allow completion of the work permit data sheet by Minors and Employers and the issuance of work permits by authorized Issuing Officers. Online Work Permit

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FLSA Lawsuits Continue to Rise and Hit an All-time High

FLSA Chart

From April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014 a record number (8,126) of FLSA cases have been filed across the country.  This represents nearly a 5 percent increase from the year before, and the seventh straight year of increases.  In fact, the number of cases filed has risen 438% since the year 2000. Astonishingly enough, these numbers only capture half of the picture as they represent only the federal cases, and not any wage and hour lawsuits filed within the individual state courts. Unfortunately for business owners, the number of cases being filed is expected to continue to rise with the speculation of raising the minimum wage and tightening the regulations on white collar overtime exemptions. HR Strategies can help you reduce your risk and vulnerabilities to a FLSA regulations lawsuit, along with the many other Federal, State, Local and Professional Regulatory changes.  Call us today to relieve your stress of whether or not you are in compliance; and give yourself the ability to focus on the aspects of your company for which you went into business, while we handle the behind the scenes issue of compliance. 770-339-0000

School’s Out for the Summer! Child Labor FAQs for Employers

It’s official! Schools all over Georgia are out! Have questions about seasonal employees? Want to know more about Georgia’s Child Labor Laws? Here are a few Frequently Asked Questions from the Georgia DOL website.

Q: Can I obtain a list from the Child Labor Section of employers who are currently hiring minors?

A: The Child Labor Section does not assist in obtaining employment for minors but rather ensures the safety of minors in the work place. The following industries are major employers of minors: grocery stores, amusement parks, recreation centers, day care centers, restaurants, bowling alleys, movie theatres, and retail stores. You can visit any GDOL Career Center to get help in finding a job.

Q: What are the requirements for reporting new hires?

A: Both Georgia statute 19-11-9.2 and the Federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 require all Georgia employers to report all newly hired employees, including rehires, to the “State New Hire Reporting System”. No employers are exempt.

Q: If an area school session ends prior to June 1, can a minor under the age of 16 work 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week or does the minor have to wait until June 1 to begin full time employment?

A: Once the school session ends, a minor can work up to 8 hours per day but no more than 40 hours per week. However, according to federal law, the minor cannot work past 7:00 p.m. until June 1. For the period of June 1 through Labor Day the work hours are extended to 9:00 p.m.

Q: Can a minor who is visiting and working in Georgia use an out-of-state work permit?

A: No. Any minor working in the state of Georgia must obtain a Georgia Employment Certificate issued by an authorized Georgia Issuing Officer. A work permit can be obtained from the local board of education where the minor is temporarily residing.

Q: If school is not in session one day during a school week, what are the maximum hours a minor under age 16 can work on that day?

A: If school is not in session on any particular day during a school week, according to state law, a minor can work 8 hours on that non-school day. However, if the employer is subject to the FLSA, the minor cannot work more than 18 hours during that particular school week.

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These are only a few answers, check out the Georgia DOL site or call HR Strategies with your questions!

770.339.0000

 

The Ups and Downs of Rounding Hours Worked

overtime

Do you round employees’ hours worked? If you choose to round, do so cautiously to reduce the risk of a wage and hour claim. Employee time must be rounded up and down uniformly (e.g. don’t always round down). Structure rounding to ensure employees are paid fully for all hours actually worked and overtime is calculated properly. Need help? Call one of our HR Professionals at 770-339-0000 to review your rounding practices.

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