Saturday, November 21, 2009

DoL Calls for Wage and Hour Reinforcements


The Blog of Legal Times (aka BLT) reports that the Department of Labor (DoL) hired an additional 250 wage and hour investigators. And you thought no one was hiring! Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis (pictured) made the announcement on Thursday. The new hires represent a one-third increase in staffing. So what does this mean for employers?

The Wage and Hour division administers the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)(.pdf). In short, the FLSA requires:
  • A national minimum wage of $7.25/hour; and
  • Overtime pay of one-and-a-half times the regular rate of pay for hours worked beyond 40 hours/week (any 168 hour period).
I don't think anyone will be shocked to learn that it's actually much more complex than a two-point wage requirement. There are numerous exceptions, exemptions, and other mandates. Of course, there are also state and local laws, most notably state minimum wage laws (list of state minimum wages).

If employers aren't familiar with these complexities, it's time to figure them out. I'm pretty sure those 250 new investigators aren't just for show. The DoL provides online Compliance Assistance to help employers (and inform employees). Believe me, that will be better than the other "compliance assistance" that comes when the investigators knock on your door!

Image: Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis - Official Portrait from Department of Labor, public domain image.