RESEARCH CORNER An overview of wage and hour compliance

encompassing, but instead will give some of the main points to remember when trying to determine if you are compli- ant with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Te FLSA is the federal law that governs minimum wage and overtime requirements for employees. Te FLSA is administered and enforced by the United States Department of Labor (DOL). Tere are two distinct times when the federal DOL has jurisdiction under the FLSA: 1) when a non-exempt (hourly) employee does not receive minimum wage for all of their hours worked, and 2) when a non-exempt employee does not receive time and a half (overtime or compensatory time) for any overtime hours worked in a period. Tese provisions only apply to non-exempt employees as defined by the Act. In contrast, exempt employees are exempt from the requirements of the FLSA. An exempt employee must be one who makes at least $455/week and who meets one of the duties tests laid out by the law. If you have a quali- fying employee (based on wage and duties) then they may be classified as exempt and paid on a salary basis. However, keep in mind there is no requirement that you classify qualify- ing employees as exempt. You may continue to treat all employees as non-exempt at your discretion. Te two most important points to remember regarding exempt employees who meet the duties and wage tests are: 1) you must have an accurate job description on file demonstrating the nature of their duties; and, 2) they must make the same amount of money each pay period regardless of the hours worked, or the quality of the work performed. Alternatively, if an employee is non-exempt, they are con-


sidered an hourly employee, and you must be sure to comply with the FLSA regarding their hours worked and their over- time calculation. Another common question I get is whether a non-exempt employee is salaried or hourly. Many counties have non-exempt employees they pay on a salary basis based on the quorum court appropriation. Other counties classify their non-exempt employees as hourly. Please keep in mind that just because you hire and pay an employee on a salary basis, does not make them exempt from the provisions of the FLSA. Salaried employees that do not meet the wage and duties tests under the law still must be paid minimum wage and still must be paid overtime at a rate of one and half times their regular wage. Te law says the salary may be paid to cover a set number of hours (regularly


ne of the most common questions I receive from county officials across the state is wheth- er they are handling their comp time/over- time correctly. Tis article is by no means all

scheduled hours). If their hours exceed 40 in a workweek, you must calculate their hourly rate and pay overtime, or compensa- tory time, for all hours over 40. Another significant, and often

overlooked, point under the FLSA is the employer’s require- ment to keep accurate time records. What this means is that your time sheets should accurately reflect the time of day each employee arrives, the time of day they take any unpaid breaks, and the time of day they leave. This can be done on handwritten time sheets or through a time clock or other electronic system. As long as the time sheets are accurate, it doesn’t matter what form they take. Time sheets that simply put down 8 for hours worked for the day, or time sheets that show an employee arrives every day at 8 a.m. and leaves every day at 4 p.m. with a 60-minute lunch in the middle, are likely not going to be considered accurate under the FLSA. Also, when calculating hours, it must include all hours worked, not just scheduled hours. If you have employees coming in early or leaving late that must be reflected on the time sheets as well. You can set policy pro- hibiting employees from working outside of regularly sched- uled hours, you can discipline employees for violating your policy, but you must pay employees for the time regardless. Employees who work more than 40 hours in a single work

Brandy McAllister RMF Legal Counsel

week (seven-day period) must be paid time and a half or receive compensatory time at the rate of time and a half for any time worked over 40 hours. If your county has adopted the 207(k) exemption for law enforcement (jailers and depu- ties only), then overtime is not required until after the law enforcement employee exceeds the designated number of hours. Under 207(k), an employer may select any work pe- riod between seven and 28 days, and then the law designates at what point overtime begins. Examples of this would be a 28-day work period and 171 hours worked, or a 14-day work period and 86 hours worked. Te work period should be laid out in the county personnel policy or in the sheriff’s depart- ment policy. Tis article is only intended to touch on some of the most

basic requirement under the wage and hour laws and is not intended to be legal advice. If you have questions or concerns about whether your office or county is compliant with wage and hour requirements please contact your appropriate legal counsel for further evaluation.


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