California employees are granted many protections from improper payment and labor activities by their employer. These protections provide them with adequate wages and ensure that they are compensated accordingly when they work more than the standard amount of hours. Situations may arise throughout the year, however, that make it difficult for Californian employers to abide by these protections at all times.
During the holidays, many manufacturers and retailers need their current employees to work more hours. As a result, these employees will often work overtime, requiring the company to pay extra wages. Failure to plan for these charges could impact productivity, while a failure to pay would expose the company to wage and hour violations.
Companies that allow their employees to work remote may see an increase in this activity during inclement weather. This could lead to time keeping issues with tracking software or employee accuracy. Other issues may arise concerning holiday bonuses and administering exempt employees appropriately.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) governs wage and hour practices for employers. This law provides rules regarding unpaid overtime, minimum wage, recordkeeping and payment activities. These regulations apply to employers in both the public and private sectors.
Under this act, the standard work week has been established as 40 hours. Any time worked over 40 ours by a non-exempt employee invokes the need for overtime pay. As described above, employers that require additional labor during the holiday season need to plan for this contingency, so they pay their employees accordingly. Additionally, inaccurate timekeeping by employees or working overtime while informing their employer that they will not pursue overtime pay can expose employers to liability and violations of law.
Employers must be in compliance with the FLSA to avoid fines and other penalties associated with violations. The holiday season creates unique work hours and the increased potential for violation to occur. Therefore, employers must be even more cognizant of the act to keep themselves compliant and compensating their employees appropriately.
Source: InsideCounsel.com, "5 wage and hour warnings for employers this holiday season," accessed on Dec. 11, 2014