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FLSA: Record-Keeping Requirements

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

The FLSA requires employers to keep records on wages, hours and other employee data, most of which is generally maintained in ordinary business practice.

You do not need to keep the records in any particular form or use time clocks. But if your company does use a time clock, its records should correspond as closely as possible to the actual hours worked.

If an employee is subject to both minimum-wage and overtime pay provisions, you must keep the following records:

  • Employee’s name
  • Home address
  • Occupation
  • Sex
  • Birth date (if under 19 years of age)
  • Hour and day the person's workweek begins
  • Total hours worked each day and week
  • Total daily or weekly straight-time earnings
  • Regular hourly pay rate for any week when the employee works overtime
  • Deductions from or additions to wages
  • Total wages paid each pay period
  • Date of payment and pay period covered

Federal law requires all businesses to post minimum-wage notices in their workplace, as well as posters about the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, Employee Polygraph Protection Act and OSHA. To obtain free copies of the posters, contact the DOL at (866) 487-9243 or go to www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/posters/flsa.htm.

Should you track exempt employees' hours?

You also may want to track the number of hours exempt employees work just in case you didn’t correctly classify someone. Why? Because if the employee is reclassified as hourly, you must be able to show how many hours he worked. If you can’t, a court may force you to accept the employee’s inflated estimates.

Nothing in the law prevents you from requiring all employees (exempt and nonexempt) to record their hours by punching a time clock or filling out a time sheet. That way, you’ll have the records in case you need them. Just make sure you don’t base exempt employees’ compensation on those hours, or you’ll jeopardize their exempt status. That’s what happened when Sprint did an internal audit of its FLSA compliance.

When Sprint discovered it had misclassified one of its customer service reps, it offered him a check for $8,200. The service rep balked at the offer and sued instead. He told the court he’d worked between four and six overtime hours per day. The court went with the service rep’s figures, since Sprint didn’t have any other records to show actual hours worked. Hunter v. Sprint, No. 04-0376 (DC DC 2006)

The DOL has a new online tool to help employers determine which record-keeping requirements apply to them. The Recordkeeping, Reporting and Notices Advisor is part of a suite of online tools called FirstStep advisors, available at www.dol.gov/elaws/firststep.


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