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Leaving Work Premises during Lunch Break

Is there a labor law which states that an employee is not allowed to leave the work premises for lunch?

There is no federal law that requires employers to provide employees with rest breaks or meal periods. Additionally, there is no law that either requires or prohibits employers from requiring employees to remain at the worksite during lunch periods.

Some states have adopted rest break and meal period requirements. Thus, it’s important to know if applicable state legislation exists. I’m not aware of any state that prohibits employees from leaving their place of business during a meal period. However, this doesn’t mean that an employer is not permitted to adopt such a policy.

Many employers require employers to remain on the premises during their meal periods to ensure business operations continue to run smoothly throughout the workday. This is a common requirement of nurses and maintenance workers.
Employers must consider the wage and hour implications of having a policy that requires employees to remain at the worksite.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes guidelines for compensable work time.

Under the FLSA, short breaks lasting less than twenty minutes in duration must be compensated.

Meal periods typically lasting thirty minutes serve a different purpose than short breaks and are not time required to be compensated. However, employees must be relieved of all work responsibilities during meal periods. If an employee does any work during his meal period the time must be compensated. Furthermore, if the employee is on-call during his meal period and receives so many calls he cannot use the time effectively for his own personal purposes, the employee is considered to be working while on-call and the time must be compensated.

July 6th, 2015, 8:32 PM |  Posted in: Labor Laws |
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Child Support From Final Paycheck

Is child support to be taken out of an employee’s final paycheck?

An employer is required to comply with the terms of the child support withholding order as issued, even from the employee’s final paycheck.

July 6th, 2015, 8:14 PM |  Posted in: Compensation |
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Holiday on Saturday

If our handbook states that we give off for July 4th are we obligated to observe a day for the holiday even if it falls on a weekend. We are only opened M-F and our team members are paid salary.

There is no federal law that requires private employers to provide employees with time off, either paid or unpaid, for holidays. Such a benefit is a matter of agreement between employer and employee. Thus, employers are generally free to adopt holiday policies of their choosing.

If your handbook states that employees are entitled to July 4th off and, since the day fell on a Saturday this year, employees are not normally scheduled to work the day, there is no obligation to observe the holiday on another day. However, if the wording of your policy implies that the July 4th holiday will be observed with a day off regardless of what day of the week the holiday falls on, then you should honor your policy.

Be sure to carefully consider the wording of your policy.

July 6th, 2015, 8:03 PM |  Posted in: Benefits |
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Salaried employees

When a salaried employee quits, are they entitled to get paid earned time left on the books, vacation, personal leave, etc.?

Whether an employee, exempt or non-exempt, is entitled to paid time off payouts upon separation of employment depends on state legislation. Thus, please feel free to re-post your question or comment on this one with the state listed. We’d be happy to research applicable laws.

Absent state laws, employment contracts or collective bargaining agreements stating otherwise, employers are not required to payout accrued but unused paid time off banks.

It’s advisable to address payment of such paid time off banks upon separation of employment in paid time off policies. Keep in mind, though some states may not require payouts upon separation, they may require employers to abide by the terms of their payout policies. It’s important to know if applicable state legislation exists.

July 5th, 2015, 8:17 PM |  Posted in: Benefits |
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Time Fraud Laws in New Hampshire

One of my par-timers got caught on camera 2 times clock in at work and right away leaving the building. She came back 7 minutes after. I want to know what would be the right procedure on this issue, called in my company “Time Fraud” and what is the regular procedure or alternatives to sort out this situation. Especially because she is a good employee and she is good at her job. Thank you,

Under New Hampshire law, employers are required to maintain true and accurate records of all hours worked for all employees. Additionally, under federal law, specifically the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), it’s the employers responsibility to ensure accurate records of hours worked are kept for non-exempt employees.

Neither law requires or specifies what disciplinary action should be taken against an employee who falsifies time records. Such actions are at the discretion of the employer.

Since it’s ultimately the employer’s responsibility to ensure accurate documentation of employees’ hours worked, it’s important for employers to adopt a time-keeping policy to include disciplinary actions for violations.

Some companies consider time fraud as theft of wages and will immediately terminate violators. However, progressive discipline is also acceptable. Progressive discipline provides a graduated range of responses to employee misconduct. So, offenders may receive a verbal warning at first, then a written warning for subsequent violations, then suspension, and ultimately termination.

Meet with the employee to discuss the issue. Maybe she has a legitimate reason for her actions. Even if so, her actions absolutely call for a verbal warning, at the very least. Inform her of the time keeping policy, your expectations for her to be honest in all matters of employment and that continued violations will result in further disciplinary action including termination. Make sure she understands the severity of the issue.

In the future, consider adding the consequences for violators to your time keeping policy. Doing so informs employees that you take time fraud seriously and will not tolerate willful violators.

July 5th, 2015, 8:00 PM |  Posted in: Labor Laws, Workplace Management |
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