Wage and hour laws are created to standardize the way businesses pay their employees for working as well as how many hours employees can work over a certain period of time. In addition to determining a set minimum wage amount, wage and hour laws regulate how workers are tipped, how many rest periods they are entitled to during a shift and when they should receive overtime pay. In order to stay in compliance with the law, it is crucial that employers understand how wage and hour laws work and implement them in their businesses.
Minimum Wage in Wisconsin
The minimum wage in Wisconsin is set at $7.25 an hour, which is equal to the minimum wage amount set by the federal government, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Wisconsin also has an opportunity employment wage that enables employers to hire people under the age of 20 years old and pay them a minimum of $5.90 an hour for the first 90 days of their employment. The prevailing wage in Wisconsin describes the minimum wage assigned to construction workers for public works projects, as they are entitled to a higher minimum wage amount. This wage amount varies depending on the worker’s skill set and is determined by the state’s annual project survey.
Minimum Wage of Tipped Workers: Employers who hire tipped workers must provide a minimum wage of $2.33 an hour. However, the amount in tips that the employee makes during a shift must combine with that minimum wage to equal $7.25 an hour. The opportunity employment wage of tipped workers is a minimum of $2.13 an hour.
Does Minimum Wage Apply to Me: The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that all public and private employers in the state comply with the wage and hour laws. This includes all non-profit organizations, even if they are covered by the federal minimum wage law, as well as local and state units of government.
When Are Raises Required: Employees in Wisconsin are not guaranteed raises at any certain time. Rather, any increases in pay are generally between the employer and employee based upon the worker’s performance and time spent with the company.
Work Hours in Wisconsin
While there is no limit on how many hours an adult can work in a given week, there are laws restricting how long employees under the age of 18 years can spend working. Teenagers who are 14 or 15 years are restricted to working three hours a day or 18 hours a week during the school year, but may work eight hours a day or 40 hours a week during the summer.
Paying Overtime: Employers must pay overtime, or one and one-half the regular rate of hourly pay, to employees who work more than 40 hours in a work week. Each work week consists of seven consecutive days. There are some employees who are not entitled to overtime, including non-profit employees, domestic workers who were hired by households, taxi cab drivers, service writers, salespersons, certain executive, administrative and professional employees, and mechanics who are employed by motor vehicle dealers.
Guaranteed Breaks and Meals: Although Wisconsin wage and hour laws do not mandate that employers provide breaks for adult workers over the age of 18 years old, it is highly recommended by the Department of Workforce Development. The law does require that employees under the age of 18 years receive at least one 30-minute break to eat if they work longer than six hours.
Paid Time Off and Sick Pay: Wisconsin employers are not mandated to provide sick leave, holiday pay or any other type of paid time off. Yet, state law does require employers to give workers a 24-hour rest period once every workweek. Certain workers, including dairy employees, janitors, mill superintendents, emergency workers and other groups of people are exempt from this mandatory time off. Under the Family & Medical Leave Act, certain employees may be entitled to take a period of time off of work to deal with personal medical issues, to care for an ailing family member or when they have or adopt a child. The amount of time taken is dependent upon the reason for the leave.
Notice Period for Employee Termination: There are no state laws that require employers to give any type of notice to their employees prior to terminating their employment.
Plant Closings & Layoffs: Wisconsin businesses that have 50 employees or more must follow proper protocol before officially closing their doors or conducting a mass layoff. At least 60 days prior to the event, employers must give notice to any employees who are affected, the city where the business is located, any unions that represent the affected employees, and the Department of Workforce Development. These regulations match those that are federally mandated by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.
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