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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Avoiding common overtime infractions in Minnesota

Avoiding Common Overtime Infractions In Minnesota

Employment law is a complicated topic which most people do not like discussing. However, understanding and following these laws is important as it can save your company thousands of dollars from being spent on lawsuits which can arise from law violations. Do you know if your company employees understand the Fair Labor Standards Act?

Most employers fumble easily, especially on overtime violations. There has been a rise of FLSA lawsuits over the past years because employers continue to violate the Fair Labor Standards Act unknowingly. It is hard enough running a business, so you do not want the additional stress of facing the law for overtime violations. Below are ways to avoid common overtime infractions.

Understand How Overtime Accumulates

One way to avoid overtime infractions is to know how to calculate overtime. Calculate the overtime based on the total hours your employees work. Overtime hours are estimated by the week, not every two weeks.

Unfortunately, most employers find ways to avoid paying employees overtime wages. It's easier to adjust the workweek or change the time zone to reduce or eliminate overtime, but the DOL understands all these tricks.

The Federal FLSA Vs. The Minnesota FLSA
To avoid common overtime infractions, one needs to understand the FLSA because the DOL takes these violations very seriously. The FLSA is a set of laws put together to protect employees. According to the federal FLSA, employers need to pay their employees overtime wages for all hours worked above 40 hours every week.

However, the Minnesota law requires them to pay employees for all hours worked above 48 hours every workweek. Businesses that do not compensate staff for overtime violate the law and commit wage theft.

Employers are expected to be up to date on the current federal and Minnesota laws to avoid overtime violations. If the company is found liable for FLSA violations, they will be on the hook for back wages, fines and could face jail time.

Put Into Action Clear Overtime Policies
Another way to avoid overtime violations is by employing overtime policies and consistently following them as a company. A rock-solid overtime policy is the best way to protect your business against FLSA violations. As a rule, employers should always review and update these policies and ensure they are being implemented and followed.

Do Not Overlook Off-The-Clock Work
Employees are on the clock when they;

  • Take work home
  • Stay late
  • Clock in early
  • Work through lunch

Employers need to pay their staff for all the work they know about. Unfortunately, many employers tend to overlook off-the-clock work. The best way to avoid overtime violations is to have a strong policy that defines when employees are allowed to work off-the-clock.

Ensure you train employees to account for all their work time and learn how to calculate their overtime.

Also, avoid automatic timesheets that clock your staff's in and out at predetermined times or deduct for breaks. This will fail to record any given day that an employee works through lunch or clocks in earlier.

Classify Employees Correctly
This can be tricky. It is easier if you have a Human Resource department because they understand labor laws. According to research, more than three million employees are currently misclassified. Employees earning less than $455 every week are non-exempt. Besides, to be salaried-exempt, an employee has to be an executive or administrative. Furthermore, there is also the problem of classifying workers as independent contractors when they should be considered as employees and part of your staff.

As opposed to employees, independent contractors define their work and only do short-term work. Misclassifying employees can attract a higher fine, therefore; you need to assess the classification status of all workers.

Better Safe Than Sorry
You need to pay employees overtime wages for all the hours worked even if the overtime was not approved. To avoid overtime infractions, it is essential for your company to implement and put safeguards in place to prevent unnecessary overtime. Besides, you have the option as an employer to discipline staff members who fail to follow these overtime policies put in place.
Remember to be practical with these tips so your company is not just another employer guilty of overtime violations. These violations, according to the FLSA attract a maximum civil monetary penalty of $1,925. That can really add up!   


Author Bio:
Tim Becker Partner at Minneapolis’ Johnson // Becker PLLC, and lead sponsor of WageAdvocates.com. He is committed to providing clients effective, aggressive legal representation, and has prosecuted numerous individual FLSA violation claims.