Whether you are in the healthcare industry or not, no employer wants to be entangled in the depths of litigation or be subject to investigation by federal, state, or local labor government agencies. However, healthcare employers face unique challenges when it comes to compliance with federal and state wage and hour laws.
Here are 5 main tips to ensure compliance with wage and hour laws so you can avoid violations and potential lawsuits:
1. Properly Calculate Overtime Pay
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), non-exempt employees must be paid at least one and a half times their regular rate of pay after 40 hours of work in a workweek. States, such as California, have similar overtime provisions. If you do not pay your non-exempt employees overtime wages they have earned, they have the right to file a wage claim with the Labor Commissioner’s office.
2. Review Worker Classification
While you may be tempted to classify your healthcare employees as independent contractors, worker misclassification can subject you to class and collective actions, and expose you to significant liability. Unlike independent contractors, employees are entitled to minimum wage, overtime pay, and other protections under the FLSA.
3. Ensure Non-Exempt Employees Are Taking Breaks
Your non-exempt employees should not be performing work during their meal and rest breaks. California law, for example, requires all non-exempt employees to take, at minimum, an unpaid 30-minute lunch or meal break after their fifth hour of work. If an employee works more than ten hours in a workday, he or she must be given a second 30-minute meal break.
4. Do Not Retaliate Against Employees for Complaints
It is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against their employee for engaging in certain protected activities, including making complaints or reporting legal violations at work.
5. Compensate Employees for Travel and Training
It is common for healthcare employees to travel during their shifts to attend to multiple patients or work at multiple facilities. This time spent traveling is generally compensable – for example, California law requires employers to reimburse their employees “for all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee in direct consequence of the discharge of his or her duties”. Additionally, certain training costs may need to be reimbursed by healthcare employers.
For more information on federal and state wage and hour compliance, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between MNK Law and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material.