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Hiring Help

Bringing employees on board to work in your business can be exciting. You'll want to ensure that you are conducting employment processes in accordance to the laws. You need to understand and comply with federal and state employment and labor laws, including discrimination and harassment, termination, safe and drug-free work environments, and benefits and wages.

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Fair Labor Standards Act: Basic Wage Standards

Covered, nonexempt workers are entitled to a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. Special provisions apply to workers in American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Nonexempt workers must be paid overtime pay at a rate of not less than one and one-half times their regular rates of pay after 40 hours of work in a workweek.

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Pay Day Periods

Wages required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are due on the regular payday for the pay period covered. Deductions made from wages for such items as cash or merchandise shortages, employer-required uniforms, and tools of the trade, are not legal to the extent that they reduce the wages of employees below the minimum rate required by the FLSA or reduce the amount of overtime pay due under the FLSA.

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Fair Labor Standards Act Exemptions

The FLSA contains exemptions from these basic standards. The FLSA does set basic minimum wage and overtime pay standards and regulates the employment of minors. There are a number of employment practices which the FLSA does not regulate. The FLSA does not require: 1. vacation, holiday, severance, or sick pay; 2. meal or rest periods, holidays off, or vacations; 3. premium pay for weekend or holiday work; 4. pay raises or fringe benefits; or 5. a discharge notice, reason for discharge, or immediate payment of final wages to terminated employees.

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What the Fair Labor Standards Act Does & Does Not Do

The FLSA does not provide wage payment or collection procedures for an employee's usual or promised wages or commissions in excess of those required by the FLSA. However, some States do have laws under which such claims (sometimes including fringe benefits) may be filed. Also, the FLSA does not limit the number of hours in a day or days in a week an employee may be required or scheduled to work, including overtime hours, if the employee is at least 16 years old. The above matters are for agreement between the employer and the employees or their authorized representatives.

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Youth Minimum Wage

A minimum wage of not less than $4.25 an hour is permitted for employees under 20 years of age during their first 90 consecutive calendar days of employment with an employer. Employers are prohi-bited from taking any action to displace employees in order to hire employees at the youth minimum wage. Also prohibited are partial displacements such as reducing employees' hours, wages, or employment benefits.

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Subminimum Wage Provisions

A minimum wage of not less than $4.25 an hour is permitted for employees under 20 years of age during their first 90 consecutive calendar days of employment with an employer. Employers are prohi-bited from taking any action to displace employees in order to hire employees at the youth minimum wage. Also prohibited are partial displacements such as reducing employees' hours, wages, or employment benefits.

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Tipped Employees

Tipped employees are individuals engaged in occupations in which they customarily and regularly receive more than $30 a month in tips. The employer may consider tips as part of wages, but the employer must pay at least $2.13 an hour in direct wages. The employer who elects to use the tip credit provision must inform the employee in advance and must be able to show that the employee receives at least the applicable minimum wage (see above) when direct wages and the tip credit allowance are combined. If an employee's tips combined with the employer's direct wages of at least $2.13 an hour do not equal the minimum hourly wage, the employer must make up the difference. Also, employees must retain all of their tips, except to the extent that they participate in a valid tip pooling or sharing arrangement.