“The Wage and Hour Division must expand its efforts to ensure that workers are employed in compliance with the laws we enforce. Our 2011 budget request for an additional $12 million and 90 new investigators will help us to achieve this.”
– DOL Secretary Hilda Solis
The DOL has developed a new initiative. What can employers do to prepare?
Classify Exempt Employees Accurately
The Government allows certain employees to be exempt from minimum wage and overtime standards, depending upon the type of work performed. Employers must classify employees accurately or face potential federal and state violations. An employee misclassified as exempt is not paid overtime as required by the FLSA . Additionally, a misclassified employee may improperly receive comp time rather than overtime. Furthermore, an employer will owe FICA taxes and face overtime issues for an employee misclassified as an independent contractor.
Bring I-9 Forms Up To Date
Employers must use current I-9 forms and complete all required portions. Consult the “Handbook for Employers,” available at www.uscis.gov, to ensure proper compliance. Two common mistakes by employers are: misinforming employees what verifying documents to provide with their I-9 forms and failing to retain the forms for the required amount of time.
Create a Safe Harbor Policy
A safe harbor policy provides for a complaint procedure if an employee believes his pay has been improperly deducted. An employer with a safe harbor provision may not be penalized by the DOL for the improper deduction as long as the employer promptly reimburses the employee. The safe harbor policy thus provides the employer with valuable protections.