Want to Avoid FLSA Problems? Do a Self-Audit

FLSA violations are now the Department of Labor’s top enforcement target. Here’s how to use a self-audit to stay out of the bull’s-eye.

In yesterday’s article on telecommuters suing their employers, most of the legal action described was over the issue of overtime payments. With workers geographically outside the employer’s control, there often is no way to accurately supervise the hours put in. It becomes the employee’s word against that of the boss. And frequently, the courts have taken the employee’s word.

This seems part of a new aggressiveness the government has shown on violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which regulates wage and hour issues.

Partly because of failure by certain major corporations to pay overtime that was due to their lowest wage workers, alleged FLSA violations are now the top target of government investigators. What’s more, all it takes is one employee complaint, justified or not, to launch an investigation of your company.

Avoid wage and hour violations with BLR’s easy-to-use FLSA Wage & Hour Self-Audit Guide. Satisfaction guaranteed! Click here.

Whether your workers are in the office or operating out of sight, you might be misclassifying as exempt employees who shouldn’t be, or not paying overtime when you should be, even inadvertently. Would you know it if you were guilty of these violations?

One way that you don’t want to find out is from the government. If you do, that information may come with a bill for up to 3 years of back wages, plus assorted other penalties. It’s far better to find out for yourself. How can you do that? Through an FLSA self-audit.

As outlined in BLR’s FLSA Wage & Hour Self-Audit Guide, these are the key steps:

  • Check your job descriptions. Be sure positions you classify as “exempt” really do fall within the administrative, executive, professional, computer, or outside sales exemptions.
  • Check what employees actually do, because jobs change over time while the paperwork never seems to catch up. Modify the tasks or the job descriptions until they match up.
  • Review your overtime calculations. If you owe your employees, pay up immediately. It’s likely to be a bargain compared to the cost of a settlement.
  • See if your state wage and hour laws differ from the FLSA, which is a federal law. The tougher standard prevails. And finally,
  • Be sure you have the latest versions of FLSA-mandated posters hanging in plain sight. They’re likely to be the very first thing an inspector looks for.

Key to all of this is to make sure that you are dealing with the latest FLSA regulations, which went into effect in 2004. There were substantial changes, and anything written before that date may be hopelessly and, for an employer, expensively obsolete.

Use a Prepared Self-Audit Program

It’s easy to lay out the basic steps for a self-audit, but as with most compliance, there are endless details. So it’s usually best to use a prepared program to walk you through. Customers tell us that BLR’s FLSA Wage & Hour Self-Audit Guide is both effective and easy to use. It even won a publishing award in that regard. Here’s what they say they like about it:

–Plain English. Drawing on 30 years of experience, our editors have translated the FLSA’s endless legalese into understandable terms.

All the checklists you need to avoid overtime payment errors. They’re in BLR’s award-winning FLSA Wage & Hour Self-Audit Guide. Read more.

–Step-by-Step. The book opens with a clear narrative of what FLSA is all about. That’s followed by 37 checklists that utilize a simple question-answer pattern about employee duties to find the appropriate classification.

–Complete. Many self-audit programs focus on determining exempt/nonexempt status. Ours also adds checklists on your policies and procedures, and includes questioning such practices as whether your break time and travel time are properly accounted for. Nothing falls through the cracks because the cracks are covered.

–Convenient. Our personal favorite feature: A list of common job titles marked “E” or “NE” for exempt/nonexempt status. It’s a huge work-saver.

As are all BLR products, the FLSA Wage & Hour Self-Audit Guide is sold on a satisfaction guaranteed basis. Click the link below for more information or to order risk-free.

Are You Making Wage and Hour Errors?
They’re easy to make when you don’t clearly know the rules of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Audit your compliance with BLR’s award-winning FLSA Wage & Hour Self-Audit Guide. All the information and checklists you need to keep FLSA trouble away. Try it at no cost for 30 days! Click here for info.