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Illinois employment lawyerAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently an estimated 16.6 million retail workers over the age of 16 in the United States. Jobs in the retail industry are popular among younger Americans such as high school and college students because of the flexible hours and minimum education requirements. Retail establishments can include gas stations, restaurants, department stores, and much more. Retail employees are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as long as the establishment has an annual sales volume of at least $500,000, or if employees are engaged in interstate commerce activities.

As an employer, it is important that you avoid FLSA violations to achieve full compliance.

Hours Worked Violations

Employers are required by law to pay for all hours worked by employees. Sometimes retail establishments will only allow workers to be “on the clock” if there is a need for them. If they are scheduled to work, but there is no demand for more staff, the employee will often be told they are not needed. Unless an employer immediately informs an employee of this, fully relieves them of duty, and gives them a specific time to check in, the time between their scheduled shift and the check-in time does not have to be counted as work time. If the employee is not given a specific time that is long enough to use for their own benefit, all of the waiting time should be counted as hours worked.

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Schaumburg business lawyerFor many high school and college students, unpaid internships are almost a necessity. According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, around 61 percent of graduating college seniors had an internship, although nearly half of all internships in the United States were unpaid. Unpaid internships are highly contentious among some because many involve students doing work that actual employees would do. In 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor gave unpaid internships its blessing, with a few requirements. Business owners should be aware of these requirements to avoid violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The Primary Beneficiary Test

The primary beneficiary test is used by courts to help determine whether an intern or student is actually an employee who must be compensated for their work. The following seven factors are the criteria that courts use to make the determination:

  • The extent to which the employer and the intern understand there is no expectation of compensation;
  • Whether the internship provides training that would be similar to the training that would be given in an educational environment;
  • Whether the internship is tied to the intern’s formal education program through integrated coursework or academic credit;
  • Whether the internship corresponds to the academic calendar;
  • Whether the duration of the internship lasts only as long as the internship provides beneficial learning;
  • Whether the intern’s work complements (but does not displace) the work of paid employees; and
  • The extent to which the intern and the employer understand the internship does not guarantee a paid job at the end of the internship.

Courts have stated the test is rather flexible because no two cases or internships are the same. If the test reveals an intern should actually be classified as an employee, then the intern is entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay, as per the FLSA.

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Illinois employment lawyerSometimes there are situations in which an employee is unable to work because of personal health issues or those of a family member. Many people worry that taking extensive time off from work will cause them to lose their job or face repercussions when they get back to work. Fortunately, the United States government has enacted what is called the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This act helps millions of Americans get the time off they need without having to worry about unfair treatment from their employers.

What is the Family and Medical Leave Act?

Enacted in 1993, the Family and Medical Leave Act allows certain employees of covered employers to take unpaid leave for specific family and medical reasons. Under the FMLA, it is illegal for employers to retaliate or to demote a person for taking leave covered under the act. Under certain situations, employers are permitted to require their employees to use accrued paid leave, such as sick leave or vacation.

Covered Employers and Eligible Employees

There are certain criteria employers must meet in order to be subject to the FMLA. Employers covered by the FMLA include:

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Illinois Employment LawyerBeing a business owner can be extremely rewarding and stressful at the same time. You have the benefit of knowing you are running a successful company, but with owning a business comes numerous responsibilities. One of the things you must pay attention to when you own a business is how you keep records, specifically, your employees' records. There are numerous laws and regulations you must follow when you own a business, and there are laws about employee recordkeeping. It is important you comply with these regulations so you do not find yourself in trouble with the government.

Maintaining Personnel Files

A personnel file is one maintained for every employee’s personal information. Items that should be kept and updated in a personnel file include:

  • Employee’s name and personal information;
  • Job applications;
  • Resumes;
  • Employment offers;
  • Emergency contact forms;
  • Documents related to job performance;
  • Any warnings and formal discipline; and
  • Separate documents like exit interviews and resignation letters.

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states all employee personnel records must be kept for one year after the employee quits or is terminated.

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Overtime Pay LawyerThe Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law put in place in 1939 to protect the rights and well-being of American workers. While the act has changed since its inception 80 years ago, it still retains many of its original goals, such as the minimum wage, overtime pay requirements, record keeping, and child labor standards. The FLSA is an important part of the American workforce and protects the rights of most workers.

Are Employers Required to Pay Overtime?

According to the FLSA, if an employer permits or requires an employee to work overtime, that employer must pay the employee for those overtime hours. Overtime is defined as any hours worked after 40 hours in a single workweek. The FLSA also requires overtime pay be no less than the employee’s usual rate plus half.

For example, a retail worker normally makes $12 per hour. This week, they worked a total of 48 hours, meaning they have eight hours of overtime they must be compensated for. Their overtime rate would be $12 + $6, for a grand total of $18 for every hour worked over 40 hours in a week. This means the worker should receive a paycheck of $720, $576 for the first 40 hours worked, and $144 for the eight hours of overtime.

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1051 Perimeter Drive, Suite 400
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Phone: (847) 995-1205

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