Labor laws can be complicated and overwhelming. Making sense of them is certainly no easy accomplishment. As with any task, sometimes it is easier to break it down into more manageable chunks. Start your discovery by asking yourself the following questions.
What is the minimum wage in my state?
Despite the federal minimum wage standards, some states set their own minimums. Be sure to check in with your states requirements in order to ensure compliance.
What is the overtime rate in my state?
According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers must compensate their employees 1.5 times their hourly rate for overtime. However, just like minimum wage, state requirements may be different, so look into your state's specific laws.
When do I have to pay overtime?
In the wording of these laws, it refers to 1.5 times the "standard rate." But, what is the standard rate. Again, this can be different from state to state. Check with your states specific labor laws to ensure you're doing it right.
Does my state require me to give my employees breaks for meals?
Some states mandate that employees have formal breaks for meals, while other states leave those negotiations up to the employer and the employee. Look into the law where you are running a business to be sure you're correctly handling breaks.
What does my state say about other breaks?
Some states require employers to give employees shorter breaks for rest throughout their scheduled shift . Make it clear to your employees that you expect them to take their mandated breaks.
Does my industry have any specific labor laws?
There could be state or federal laws protecting employees in your specific industry. Research your state's laws regarding your specific industry.
Work through these questions and you'll have a head start on navigating labor law compliance.