10/05/13 By Jennifer Brown

Balancing the Accounts. Calculator, penMost States have a long list of wage and hour laws that employers must follow–or risk penalties, fines, lawsuits, and even criminal charges. Did you know that some States:

– Don’t allow employers to require employees to use direct deposit?
– Require employers to pay employees at least bi-monthly?
– Have their own minimum wage and overtime hour requirements that differ from the Federal requirements?
– Require break and meal periods?
– Require final pay to be disbursed prior to the next scheduled pay period?
– Don’t allow paycheck deductions for errors, omissions, and shortages?

To find your State’s regulations, visit your

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State’s wage and hour website – and bookmark it! This is a site you should visit regularly. Most of these sites also have an employer handbook to help employers comply with these laws. Be sure to pay particular attention to your State’s regulations, including:

– Pay Frequency and Established Dates
– Final Paycheck Delivery and Deductions
– Minimum Wage and Overtime
– Child Labor Laws
– Break and Meal Periods
– Payment upon Termination of Accrued Vacation and/or Sick Leave
– Holidays and Holiday Pay
– Change of Pay
– Uniform Costs
– Notice of Termination: Payment of Wages During Notice Period
– Direct Deposit of Wages
– Holding Wages
– Unpaid Wages
– Recordkeeping

Penalties, fines, lawsuits, and even criminal charges can result from not being in compliance with your State’s wage and hour laws. For example, in Virginia employers can be assessed a $1000 penalty per violation or face criminal charges for intentionally and willfully violating the payment of wages laws. These laws include requirements that employers establish regular pay rates and pay dates and pay employees all wages, salaries, and commissions on or before the established payday. In addition, employees in Virginia cannot be required to forfeit their wages for shortages, errors, damages, etc. In Maryland, employees can file criminal charges or lawsuits related to wage violations and may be awarded damages of up to three times the amount of the unpaid wage plus attorney fees.

Bottom line: wage and hour violations are serious. Not only will they cost you money in terms of fines, penalties, and legal fees, but they will also require a significant amount of your time and energy to resolve – thus, taking your focus off of growing your business. So, take a few minutes today to visit your State’s wage and hour website!

Here are some links to a few of these sites:

Maryland: http://www.dllr.state.md.us/labor/wagepay/

Virginia: http://www.doli.virginia.gov/laborlaw/laborlaw.html

District of Columbia: http://does.dc.gov/service/wage-and-hour-compliance

Pennsylvania: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=563209&mode=2

West Virginia: http://www.wvlabor.com/newwebsite/pages/Wage_Hour_main.html


photo credit

Jennifer Brown is the founder of PeopleTactics LLC, she is devoted to helping small business owners implement solutions to prevent Human Resources problems that drain them of their time, money, and energy. Jennifer works with small businesses in order to help them build stronger employee relationships, understand and comply with employment laws, establish policies, and set up easy-to-use HR systems to consistently avoid problems.

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