DOL’s Trojan horse: ‘We’re from the government and we can help’

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in Compensation and Benefits,FMLA Guidelines,HR Management,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is stepping up efforts to encourage and support certain types of wage-loss claims by low-income workers. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced this spring that the department was rolling out its “We Can Help” campaign to address this issue.

If you employ relatively low-wage workers, you need to be aware of this program.

The program will be administered by the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division. It focuses on two specific types of wage-loss claims:

  1. Failure to pay employees the federally mandated minimum wage rate (currently $7.25 per hour)
  2. Failure to pay federally mandated overtime wages (for applicable employees working more than 40 hours per week).
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What the program looks like

The program is limited to investigating and assisting in the filing of claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). It will have a special emphasis on trying to reach workers in particular fields, including the food service, janitorial, hotel and motel, home health care and construction industries. Those industries tend to employ many lower-paid workers.

The program also appears to reach out specifically to immigrants and other non-English-speaking employees. The public information campaign will feature outreach in several languages.

In addition to spreading the word about federal wage-and-hour laws via the “We Can Help” campaign, the DOL is also focusing on increased enforcement. Now it’s hired extra staff to find and punish employers that break the law.

The FLSA Compliance Guide has saved many confused and frustrated employers from expensive, unnecessary lawsuits. It can do the same for you.

What you don’t know about FLSA regulations could land you in the middle of a costly, time-consuming lawsuit or audit. The FLSA Compliance Guide can help you stay on top of those regulations and protect your business. Learn more...
What you can do
  • Set clear policies about overtime work. Make sure supervisors follow those policies.
  • Pay special attention to compensation for work performed before or after employees’ official work shifts. In many cases, you must pay for the time employees spend putting on and taking off uniforms and protective gear and otherwise preparing to work. The DOL is focusing on this issue.
  • Be proactive in assessing whether these or other compliance issues exist. Address them before employees complain.
Why it matters you YOU

When it comes down to time sheets, your personal assets are at stake. That's because the FLSA allows employees to sue their bosses, execs and HR professionals for personal liability for altering pay records.

You really can't afford to get caught violating the FLSA. Get the guide to ensure your compliance...

With the FLSA Compliance Guide, you'll better understand:
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  • Who is and isn’t eligible for overtime pay
  • When pay can be docked
  • How to compensate employees who work from home
  • The difference between minimum wage and “living wage”
  • When a break does or doesn’t have to be compensated
  • How to compensate vacation days and sick leave
  • Your requirements and rights with regard to overtime
  • How an incorrectly completed timesheet can cause you harm, even if you didn’t know about it

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