Wage and Hours In The Workplace

With wage and hour filings increasing by over 450% in the last 15 years, and with the Federal Department of Labor (DOL) boasting its recovery of a record $304m in owed wages to employees for fiscal year 2018, it’s not wise to ignore the importance of compliance with today’s wage and hour laws.  To add fuel to the fire, in January 2018, the DOL raised the amount it would assess for certain violations, including wage and hour violations.  So, if your head is spinning, you’re not alone – following the myriad of regulations and compliance requirements for employers can be challenging – but is not impossible.

Following good pay practices, keeping abreast of changes, and applying common sense will go a long way. Below are a few important pay practice reminders related to non-exempt (hourly-paid) employees in the State of Arizona:

  • Maintain accurate records of all hours worked.
  • Pay employees for all time that is recorded and worked.
  • Require employees to obtain supervisory approval prior to working overtime.
  • Administer corrective or disciplinary action for someone who works unauthorized overtime, but don’t withhold compensation, even if the time was not authorized.
  • Do not “bank” or carryover overtime hours to use later. Overtime must be considered hours worked and paid within the established work week.
  • Include nondiscretionary bonuses (e.g., productivity or performance) in the regular rate of pay for overtime calculations. This may mean retroactively adjusting overtime pay when bonuses are paid after the fact, such as quarterly or annual bonuses.
  • Ensure that all employees on your payroll (full-time, part-time, temporary) earn paid sick time applicable for your employer size.
  • Follow federal regulations to know when employees are required to be paid when traveling during the work day or out of the area for training and/or other business-related reasons.
  • Neither Federal nor Arizona law requires that employers give adult workers a lunch or break period. But, if given, break periods (usually those lasting 20 minutes or less) are generally compensable, while bona fide meal or lunch periods (usually those lasting more than 30 minutes) do not need to be paid provided the employee is relieved from all work.
  • Employees who are discharged from their employment, need to receive their final pay within seven (7) working days of the termination or the next regularly scheduled pay date, whichever is sooner.
  • For employees voluntarily resigning from employment, final payment is due no later than on the next regularly scheduled pay date.

Setting up and following proper payroll procedures for non-exempt (hourly-paid employees) is critical to avoid making costly mistakes and ending up being a DOL statistic.  For more information on wage and hour requirements, visit the Department of Labor or the Industrial Commission of Arizona.


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