The Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor (DOL) is responsible for enforcing federal labor laws, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Act establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers. The FLSA allows for the recovery of back wages, liquidated damages, and assessment of civil money penalties in instances of minimum wage, overtime, and other violations by employers.
In 2019, the Wage and Hour Division collected a record-setting $322 million in wages owed to workers. Most investigations are a result of complaints lodged by employees, however, the DOL has the authority to perform anonymous investigations at will. The DOL intentionally targets employers in low-wage industries, with the top offenders of 2019 being in the Construction, Food Services, and Healthcare sectors.
On January 6, 2020, the DOL announced it was hiring 45 new investigators, as well as 15 new wage and hour technicians nationwide. They expect to fill the openings by the end of March, with a plan for continuous expansion of the department. Wage and Hour Division Administrator Cheryl Stanton stated: “Increased staffing levels will allow the Wage and Hour Division to more effectively level the playing field for employers while protecting the wages of even more workers. We are thrilled to announce these immediate openings and anticipate adding additional staff throughout the year.”
Employers should remain steadfast with complying with all Federal Labor laws or may find themselves on the losing end of a DOL investigation. And once an employer has been probed, return visits by a DOL investigator are commonplace to ensure employers have remedied any previous violations.
If you have questions please contact one of our HR Consultants at 1-888-622-6460.
*The information provided in this communication is general in nature and is for informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal, tax, or accounting advice.