From wages to overtime to worker leave, it seems like every aspect of employment is covered by dozens of laws. As one of the top staffing agencies in Spokane, Washington, we also know that many times these laws are also vague and complicated, making it difficult for any business owner to navigate without consulting an expensive attorney.
To help you find your way through these murky waters, below are some areas of employment law that you must be aware of and deal with properly in order to remain in compliance:
1. Employees Vs. Independent Contractor
Classifying an employee as a contractor, rather than an employee, can be tempting because then you don’t have to put them on your payroll and withhold taxes. However, it’s not legal. And if you misclassify an employee as a contractor and don’t have the proper 1099 paperwork, your business could face fines or an audit.
2. Wages & Hours
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the law that governs minimum wage and overtime pay. It applies to most employers, including the federal government, state and local governments and most private employers. See if the FSLA applies to your business. Under the law, covered, nonexempt workers are entitled to a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Also for covered, nonexempt employees, the FLSA requires overtime pay to be at least one and one-half times an employee’s regular rate of pay after 40 hours of work in a workweek.
3. Employee Privacy Rights
According to the U.S. Supreme Court, employees have very limited rights when it comes to privacy at work. Employers can monitor their Internet usage and also block sites from being accessed. Likewise, emails are considered company property if they were sent using a company email system; they can also be archived and monitored. In addition, under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), employers may monitor an employee’s business-related phone calls at work; but typically not their personal calls (even when they are made at the office).
4. Employee Leave
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires companies that employ a workforce of 50 or more employees to make unpaid leave of up to 12 weeks available to employees facing personal medical problems, the birth or adoption of a child, or the need to care for an immediate family member. FMLA applies specifically to employees who have worked for your company for at least 12 months and 1,250 hours and who intend to return to work at the conclusion of their leave. During their leave, you must continue to pay the benefits of these employees and save their jobs for them.
However, the law is written using somewhat vague language, making it ripe for abuse. For tips on fighting FMLA abuse, check out this blog post.
If you’d like additional advice and information on staffing and HR related challenges your company is facing, please contact Provisional. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Spokane, Washington, we have the expertise and experience required to help you overcome staffing and HR obstacles and recruit and retain the highest quality employees. We also partner with several strategic companies to offer a full range of employment solutions for you. Contact us today to learn more.