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Dept. of Labor launches initiative

Bill Hancock
Runnels County Register

The following news release was issued by the U.S. Department of Labor.

DALLAS, TX – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has launched an outreach and enforcement initiative to improve compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) among businesses in the child care industry in its Southwest region.

The US Dept of Labor has launched an outreach and enforcement initiative to improve compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) among businesses in the child care industry in its Southwest region.

WHD will conduct compliance assistance seminars and will increase close communication and coordination with child care industry stakeholders. Outreach will be coupled with strategic and data-driven enforcement efforts to test industry compliance and identify and address trends in violations.

Typical violations found in the child care industry include:

–   Making improper deductions from workers’ pay, such as those for background checks and uniforms;

–   Failing to pay for all the hours employees work, including time for required training, working through meal periods and time spent working after an employee’s scheduled shift ends;

–   Erroneously classifying employees as volunteers or independent contractors and then failing to pay them minimum wage or overtime;

–   Paying straight-time rates of pay for overtime hours worked;

–   Misapplying exemptions meant for teachers to child care providers; and

–   Failing to combine hours worked by employees at multiple locations in the same workweek when determining when overtime is due.

“Child care industry employers and employees provide a critical public service. The coronavirus pandemic has emphasized the economic importance of the industry for workers and their communities,” said Wage and Hour Division Southwest Region Administrator Betty Campbell in Dallas. “Our outreach effort is educating child care industry employers about their legal obligations under all applicable federal requirements, offering compliance assistance and engaging in other activities to protect the welfare of the nation's workforce. Our goal is to get our information into the hands of all who need it and to level the playing field for employers in this industry.”

Wage and Hour Division’s Southwest Region covers Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

The Department offers numerous resources to ensure employers have the tools they need to understand their responsibilities and to comply with federal law, such as online videos and confidential calls to WHD offices.

For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Employers that discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd.

The mission of WHD is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation’s workforce. WHD enforces federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes. Additionally, WHD administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act and other statutes applicable to federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.