The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) helps Nevada businesses meet their requirements for everything from minimum wage and overtime pay to recordkeeping and child labor laws. Nevada businesses can benefit by contacting the WHD to ensure they are in compliance with laws and regulations affecting employees.
The Fair Labor Standards Act
Created in 1938 as part of the country’s Federal Wage and Hour statutes, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides standards for business owners to follow with regard to employee pay and workplace activity. Business owners are provided with a detailed set of regulation guidelines so that employees are treated fairly under federal law.
During a recent interview with Gaspar Montanez, District Director of the Department of Labor’s WHD, Montanez explained the agency’s role. “We’re here to help Nevada businesses with the regulations set down under The Fair Labor Standards Act and The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), and to help small business owners and their management teams remain in compliance with all the regulations that apply to their companies and the people they employ.”
Wage and Hour Services: Helping Businesses Help Employees
The WHD provides a long list of services to help Nevada business owners remain compliant with FLSA and FMLA regulations. “Each type of business has different work-related questions and challenges,” Montanez explained, “and our job is to provide the right information to each company owner to make sure the business maintains fair labor practices – something all business owners should take seriously.”
The WHD oversees numerous business functions related to employee activity, including:
- minimum wage questions
- overtime regulations
- child labor laws and requirements
- migrant and seasonal employment rules
- family and medical leave
- employment standards for different types of business
- applicable statutes under federal contracts for construction, goods and services
- enforcement of prevailing wage requirements under federal law
“One of our most important functions at the WHD is to provide business owners with compliance assistance,” Montanez explained. “Not all businesses are subject to the FLSA requirements.1 If a small business owner needs compliance assistance and lacks the resources to secure legal counsel, they may call our local district office and obtain free information.”
Montanez provided an example. “One of the biggest problems we encounter occurs when employers improperly classify workers as ‘independent contractors.’ In my experience, 95 percent of the people classified as independent contractors should actually be called employees. According to the FLSA definition, ‘workers who are economically dependent on the business of the employer, regardless of skill level, are considered to be employees. Independent contractors are workers with economic independence who are in business for themselves.’”2 Misclassifying workers can lead to problems not only with the Department of Labor, but also with tax authorities, unemployment insurance, and workers compensation.
He added that many employers may not be aware of a recent amendment to The Fair Labor Standards Act requiring employers to give nursing mothers time off during their work day to pump milk for their babies. Employers must also provide a place where nursing mothers can have privacy (not a restroom) as well as a place to safely store their milk. Ignoring regulations like this can leave a company at risk for serious penalties, according to Montanez.
The WHD maintains an extensive regulatory library to help employers determine fair labor practices under federal law. In addition, the agency provides e-tools, workplace posters, downloadable forms, fact sheets, complete compliance assistance, industry-specific resources, and labor standards information for start-ups and growing companies.
“The WHD is much more than an enforcement agency. Our objectives also include educating business owners on regulatory compliance – something successful owners are concerned about,” Montanez explained. “We encourage all Nevada business owners to contact us for assistance in maintaining fair labor practices in their workplaces. Educating business owners on compliance issues enables us to provide the FLSA and FMLA information before there’s a need to enforce federal regulations, preventing problems before they become problems.”
Nevada’s business community can reach the Las Vegas District Office of the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor by calling (702) 928-1240 to set up a consultation, a compliance review, or for free information for themselves and their employees.
“We help businesses of all sizes and in all sectors maintain the highest workplace standards set down in the FLSA and FMLA,” Montanez concluded, “and we’re here to help business owners and their employees enjoy mutual success.”
Is your business in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act and The Family and Medical Leave Act? Need some guidance? Call U. S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division District Office in Nevada to obtain free compliance assistance for the information you need to maintain a fair workplace and happy employees.
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1. For more information, see www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs14.htm
2. For more information, see www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs13.htm
The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of ZB, N.A.