Can We Require Our Employees to Have Flu Shots?

drugs-20250_1920Now that flu season is upon us many employers question whether they can require their employees to have a flu shot. As a simple answer, yes, generally employers can require their employees to have a flu shot unless the employee has a religious objection or cannot receive the vaccine due to a disability.  There are a number of factors an employer may want to take into consideration before requiring the flu shot for all employees. Continue reading

The Family and Medical Leave Act

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12 month period where their job is guaranteed upon their return. The law also requires that any group health insurance benefits the employee participates in are continued for the duration of the FMLA leave as if the employee was still working full time.

Covered Employers

FMLA only applies to companies with 50 or more employees during each of 20 or more calendar workweeks in the previous or current calendar year. This may include members of controlled groups and joint employers if the total employee count is 50 or more. In addition, all public agencies (including local, state and federal government agencies) as well as public and private elementary or secondary schools are covered employers regardless of the number of employees.

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Rules for Final Paycheck Vary by State

When an employee quits their job voluntarily or is terminated involuntarily by their employer, it is important for an employer to know the rules regarding any final wages owed to the employee.

Each state’s wage and hour laws determine when and how the final payments are made. Many states have different rules for voluntary resignations and involuntary terminations. For example, some states require a check to be given at the time of termination when the termination is involuntary  but don’t require final payment to be paid to an employee who is voluntarily quitting until the next regularly scheduled pay date. Continue reading

Clarification on the “Day of Rest” Requirement for California Employers

Employees in California must receive at least one day off per week (“day of rest”) under California labor law.  This is not a new requirement, however the California Supreme Court recently clarified how the “day of rest” rule applies.

The court stated that employers must allow a day of rest in each workweek. The workweek is defined by each employer, generally in the Employee Handbook. The rule doesn’t indicate that the employee receives at least one day off in any seven day period. So, for example, if an employer has a workweek defined as Sunday through Saturday, an employee could have Tuesday off one week and then Friday off the following week. This means the employee would be working nine days in a row, but the employer is still in compliance with the day of rest requirement because the employee is getting one day off in each workweek.  Continue reading

Georgia’s New Kin Care Law

Effective July 1, 2017, large employers in Georgia who offer sick leave to their employees must allow their employees to use sick time to care for an immediate family member.

The new law applies to employers with 25 or more employees. These large employers who currently offer employees paid sick leave (or begin to do so in the future) must allow employees who work at least 30 hours per week to use up to 5 days of paid sick leave per year for the care of an immediate family member. Continue reading

Hiring Employees Under 18 – Know the Laws Regarding Child Labor

As summer approaches and schools are close to letting out for summer vacation, many employers will be hiring teenagers to do summer work. But before hiring an employee who is not yet 18 years old, it is very important for employers to familiarize themselves with child labor laws to ensure they remain in compliance and avoid potential penalties.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), provides some work limitations based on the age of the minor employee:

  • Under 14 years old: generally cannot perform any work (outside of a few exceptions such as newspaper delivery and casual babysitting).
  • 14-15 years old: only permitted to work in specified occupations (such as retail and some kitchen and food service – for a full list of permitted occupations click here). There are also restrictions regarding hours that employees 14 and 15 years old can work:
    • No work can be performed during school hours,
    • No more than 3 hours of work on school days (including Fridays),
    • No more than 18 hours per week during the school year,
    • No more than 8 hours per day during school breaks,
    • No more than 40 hours per week during school breaks,
    • No work before 7 am or after 7 pm (except between June 1st and Labor Day when the nighttime limitation is extended to 9 pm).
  • 16-17 years old: can work unlimited hours with no restrictions or limitations in any job other than those designated as hazardous by the Secretary of Labor. For a list of hazardous jobs, click here.
  • There are separate rules for minors working in the agricultural industry. For more information about those rules, click here.

The FLSA permits employers to pay employees younger than 20 years old less than the regular federal minimum wage for their first 90 days of employment (consecutive calendar days). The current federal youth minimum wage is $4.25 per hour.

The FLSA does not require minors to obtain a work permit to begin employment, however many states have laws that do require work permits.

In addition, many states have their own rules regarding child labor addressing items such as required meal or rest breaks and/or restrictions on hours worked. It is very important to be aware of all applicable state laws in addition to the rules established under the FLSA. For more information regarding state specific laws, click here.

Paid Sick Leave Required for Chicago Employers

Effective July 1, 2017 employers with one or more employee working in Chicago will be required to provide their “covered” employees with paid sick leave.

The new ordinance applies to all businesses with one or more “covered” employee in Chicago who have a business facility within the city or who are subject to any of Chicago’s license requirements.

Employees are covered by the ordinance if they work at least two hours in Chicago in any two-week period. Both part time and full time employees are covered as long as they work at least 80 hours in any 120-day period.

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