Every employer covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) must keep certain records for each covered, nonexempt worker. Under the federal Department of Labor’s (DOL) final overtime regulations, employees who currently earn more than $455 per week ($23,660 annually), but less than $913 per week ($47,476 annually), need to be reclassified as nonexempt by December 1, 2016. Employers will need to keep specific records for these newly nonexempt employees.
There is no required form for the records, but the records must include accurate information about the employee and data about the hours worked and the wages earned. The following is a listing of the basic records that an employer must maintain:
- Name and Social Security number
- Home address, including zip code
- Date of birth, if under age 19
- Sex and occupation
- Time of day and day of the week on which employee’s workweek begins
- The hourly rate of pay
- The basis of pay
- Total hours worked for each day and each week
- Total straight (i.e., nonovertime or premium) pay
- Total overtime pay
- Additions and deductions made, including wage assignments
- Total wages paid each pay period
- Date of payment and pay period covered by the payment
Under the FLSA, all records that constitute the primary sources of this information must be preserved for a period of 3 years, for all current and former employees. Such records include payroll records, work certificates, collective bargaining agreements, and individual employment contracts.
Supplementary records—documents serving as the source documents for other payroll records maintained by an employer—must be preserved for at least 2 years. Supplementary records may include timecards, production cards, wage rate tables, piece rate schedules, and work-time schedules.
Although not required under the FLSA, it is a good idea to retain job descriptions, performance reviews, internal memorandums, postings, handbook policies, and other materials pertaining to wage classifications and pay practices, which you may use to justify your pay practices during an audit, for a period of at least 3 years.
The FLSA requires that all records be kept at the place or places of employment or at one or more established central recordkeeping offices where such records are customarily maintained. If kept at a central recordkeeping office rather than the place of employment, the records must be available within 72 hours following a request by the DOL.
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Susan E. Prince, J.D., M.S.L., is a Legal Editor for BLR’s human resources and employment law publications. Ms. Prince has over 15 years of experience as an attorney and writer in the field of human resources and has published numerous articles on a variety of human resources and employment topics, including compensation, benefits, workers’ compensation, discrimination, work/life issues, termination, and military leave. Ms. Prince also served as an expert on several audio conferences discussing the 2004 changes to the federal regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Before starting her career in publishing, Ms. Prince practiced law for several years in the insurance industry and served as president of a retail sales business. Ms. Prince received her law degree from Vermont Law School.
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