FLSA, FMLA enforcement reaches record highs

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

If you thought the regulatory watchdogs would become lap dogs under the Bush administration, you were wrong.

In fiscal 2002, the U.S. Labor Department collected $143 million from companies that violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the largest total in more than 10 years and a 33 percent increase over 2001.

Chalk it up to beefed-up enforcement of several wage-and-hour issues. Top targets: child labor violators and low-wage industries such as garment manufacturing, agriculture and health care.

Workers are also learning their rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), resulting in a 25 percent spike in FMLA-related complaints in 2002 over 2001. The Labor Department hit up employers for more than $3.7 million in back wages for FMLA violations, a record high. Biggest complaints: Employers' refusal to grant FMLA leave and retaliating against workers who took such leave.

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