Department of Labor Increases Penalties for Non-Compliance

Failing to comply with federal laws has just become more costly. The U.S. Department of Labor announced in late January increased penalties for non-compliant employers in applicable circumstances, with new adjustments for inflation, that took effect on January 23, 2019.

The laws affected generally apply to child labor, minimum wage and overtime pay, family medical leave, occupational safety and health, migrant and seasonal workers.

While the Department of Labor has long maintained these standards and penalties, it’s a good habit to review these labor law standards annually, especially for the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family Medical Leave Act and the Occupational Safety And Health Act, to make sure that your company is fully compliant.

For child labor laws, for example, legally hiring a 14-15 year-old and having them work during prohibited hours will fall under these rules, or legally hiring a 16-17 year-old and having them operate disallowed vehicles or equipment will cause penalties of $12,845 per each violation.

Minimum Wage and Overtime standards for employees in the private sector are set by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The new penalty for each violation here, is $2,014. 

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) specifies that employers must allow employees to take leave of their jobs for up to 12 weeks, in each 12 month period, for qualified medical and family reasons. Employers must also post and keep on their premises, a notice about the FMLA and its procedures.

Other penalty increases involve the Retirement and Income Security Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), the Migrant and Seasonal Worker Act, Immigration and Nationality Act and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act. Plus, new provisions have been issued regarding the use of lie detector testing for employment screening.

While these new penalties are stiff, so are the potential public relations fallouts on your business and the negative impacts on employee morale. Employers will do well to ensure they are in 100% compliance of these labor laws and new revisions.

To explore the rules of compliance, go to the Department of Labor website by clicking here, and it’s never a bad idea to consult your Employment Law Attorney to review.