Some of the most common issues that arise between employers and employees have to do with wages and benefits. Employees expect to receive fair compensation for the time they put in, and it is important that employers understand the employment laws that apply their business. This section contains the information employers need to know regarding wages and benefits for their employees.
Wage and Hour Laws
It is important that employers understand the federal wage and hour laws that govern things like minimum wage, overtime and rest breaks so they can remain in compliance at all times. Both federal law and the laws of your state set forth the minimum wage workers are to receive. Wage and hour laws also cover who is required to receive overtime pay, how tipped workers are to be compensated and whether an employee is entitled to any rest or meal breaks.
Fair Labor Standards Act
While many states have their own laws regarding working conditions, there are federal standards that employers must adhere to. These standards are set forth in the Fair Labor Standards Act. The FLSA covers wage and hour laws and what time employees must be compensated for. The Act also sets forth minimum compensation requirements for tipped workers such as waiters, bartenders and doormen. The minimum wage and overtime standards apply to most workers, with a few notable exceptions. Certain executives, supervisors, administrative employees, computer professionals and salespeople are exempt from minimum wage and overtime requirements.
Time Off from Work
Employment laws also cover when you must permit your employees time off from work. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act allows employees to take time off from work to handle certain medical and family situations, such as bonding with a newborn child or caring for an elderly parent. Many states also have their own laws in place that expand on the federal coverage. These laws apply to most private employers and cover employees who have worked for the company for at least 12 months. In addition, most states have laws in place that allow time off for workers to vote and to fulfill jury duty obligations.
While employers are not required to offer them, some companies choose to offer their employees a retirement plan as a benefit. It is up to you to establish what type of plan you want to offer and whether you want to match any employee contributions. If you do opt to extend this benefit, there are laws that require such plans to meet certain standards. Check to ensure you’re always in adherence with the latest requirements.
Employers who offer private retirement or pension plans are subject to the Employment Retirement Income Security Act, also known as ERISA. ERISA sets forth the minimum standards that employers must follow and determines how employee benefits plans are administered. Under ERISA, employers are required to regularly inform employees about their retirement plan and how it is performing. If the retirement benefits your company offers are not in compliance with ERISA, employees may sue.
Veterans returning from military service are entitled to certain job protections, including reinstatement of their prior position, protection from discrimination and accrual of benefits while they were away. In addition, the Department of Veterans Affairs provides benefits for certain eligible military veterans. Such benefits for veterans include health care, retirement pensions and disability coverage. Veterans may also receive educational training and assistance with job placement through the government.
Employment and Taxes
When you pay your employees, you will be required to withhold certain payroll taxes. Examples of payroll taxes are federal and state income tax withholdings, Medicare taxes, unemployment taxes and Social Security. The amount of these taxes will depend on how much the employee earns and his or her filing status. Having the employee fill out a form W-2 when he or she is hired will let you know what deductions will need to be made. If a worker is not a true employee but is considered an independent contractor, you do not have to withhold any taxes and the contractor will be responsible for making payment to the government. Since there are both federal and state employment laws that employers need to follow, it is important that you understand which laws cover your company and which employees are covered. By being aware of and remaining in compliance with wage and benefit laws, you can protect your business from legal action.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.