Wage and hour laws regulate the time employees spend working and how much they are compensated for their time. These laws cover topics such as what qualifies as time worked, what employers must pay for, minimum wage, tips, overtime, and meal and rest breaks. It is vital for employers to have a full understanding of wage and hour laws to help them remain in compliance and avoid potential civil and criminal penalties.
Minimum Wage in Louisiana
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the minimum wage at $7.25 for every hour worked. Since the state of Louisiana has not established a minimum wage, employees in the state are entitled to the federal minimum wage.
Minimum Wage of Tipped Workers: Federal law allows employers to pay workers who earn tips $2.13 per hour provided that their total earnings, including tips, averages the minimum wage. Louisiana employers must act in accordance with the federal law because the state of Louisiana does not have a minimum wage law.
Does Minimum Wage Apply to Me: Wage and hour laws cover most Louisiana employers. FLSA coverage applies to those employers who are involved in interstate commerce as well as the handling, production and selling of any goods for that purpose. Employees who are exempt from wage and hour laws include certain student learners, apprentices and outside salespersons, among others. For more information about who is covered and who is exempt, refer to the U.S. Department of Labor.
When are Raises Required: Neither the state of Louisiana nor federal law covers raises. Instead, pay increases are based on agreements between employers and employees and may be given at the discretion of employers. Typically, raises are based on factors such as overall production and work performance.
Work Hours in Louisiana
There are no limits on the number of hours that employees in Louisiana can work in a day or a week. All employees who are 16 or older are able to work as many hours in a day or a week as they deem appropriate.
Paying Overtime: No overtime laws exist in Louisiana, so employers are subject to the federal laws. This specifies that workers must be paid 1 1/2 times their regular rate of pay for each hour over 40 hours they work in a week. Federal overtime regulations cover most employers, but there are a number of exemptions. For example, domestic workers who reside in the homes of their employers are usually exempt from overtime laws, as are retail employees who earn commissions.
Guaranteed Breaks and Meals: Louisiana and federal laws do not include provisions regarding breaks for rest or meals. If employers do offer rest and meal breaks, they must pay any employees who work through their breaks for the time they spend working. Shorter breaks lasting between five and 20 minutes are considered a part of a normal work day, so they are paid. There is an exception for new mothers. Women who are nursing must be permitted time to express milk for up to one year after they give birth.
Paid Time-off and Sick Pay: Louisiana employers are not required by state or federal law to offer their employees paid time-off or sick pay. Any arrangements with regards to vacation or sick time are made between employers and employees.
Notice Period for Employee Termination: Louisiana is an at-will employment state. This means that employers have the right to terminate employment for any reason at any time, given they do not have a contract with their employees that states otherwise.
Plant Closings & Layoffs: In certain situations, Louisiana employers must afford 60 days’ notice when laying off employees or closing plants. No specific state regulations relating to layoffs exist in Louisiana, which means that employers are beholden to the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. This applies to employers who have more than 100 full-time workers, in addition to mass layoffs and closings.
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