By PlanetLaundry staff | Aug 02, 2010
The Department of Labor hired 250 additional investigators last year to crack down on wage and hour violations, and in April it launched a campaign that helps employees file complaints against their employers.
The campaign, called “We Can Help,” targets workers – whether or not they’re legally permitted to work in the United States – who believe they have been denied overtime pay, back pay or other wages related to an employer violation.
Certain studies suggest these violations, referred to as “wage theft,” have become more widespread during the current tough economic times, prompting the DOL to boost enforcement.
Amid the beefed-up enforcement, owners of attended coin laundries would be wise to pay attention to the following key rules, governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act, to make sure they’re not in violation. (Keep in mind the FLSA covers full- and part-time employees, but not independent contractors.)
Minimum Wage: Some employees can be paid less than minimum wage, including full-time students, workers younger than 20, employees who are “tipped” and certain people with disabilities. However, stringent requirements must be met, including obtaining a certificate from the Labor Department.
Overtime Pay: Non-exempt employees, typically hourly workers, must be paid at least one-and-a-half times their regular hourly rate for every hour worked past 40 hours within the same week. Employers cannot apply a worker’s overtime hours to another week, even if that week is within the same pay period.
Unpaid Internships: An unpaid internship program must meet six criteria to be lawful. Among those: Interns cannot displace regular employees. The training must be for their benefit – not the employer’s. And the employer must not gain an immediate business advantage from interns’ work.
You can download a complete guide to wage and hour laws at NFIB.com/wage-hours.