Employment Hours and Wage Laws: State and Local Laws

From Page 2: FLSA Protection

Although the federal minimum wage standard is the default minimum wage for states, some state labor laws pay employees a higher minimum wage than the federal government.  Additionally, each state has their own specific labor wage laws regarding exempt and non-exempt workers in their state employment system as well. 


Hour and Wage Laws Regarding Voting and Jury Duty

The question of jury duty summonses and employee rights is a state-level issue with no explicit answer or consensus within states themselves, let alone among different states.  In almost all cases, however, employees cannot be fired or suffer damages as the result of serving their juror summonses.  Generally, employees are not guaranteed pay while serving as a juror, but some states have enacted laws ensuring employees receive part of the usual wages while serving jury duty. 

Additionally, the federal government is not very vocal on issues regarding an employee’s right to take time off to vote.  employer policies generally will accept tardiness on election days with a valid notice of being at a polling station to vote.  Each state contains its own specific employer laws, regulations, and statutes regarding the policies of time off and voting.

Time Off for National Guard and Armed Forces Service

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) details some of the federal labor employment laws for employers and their employees involved in the armed forces.  In general, a service members employment status, level, compensation rate, benefits, and all other job functions should be restored to the exact same level prior to leave due to military service. There have been, however, a number of differing state laws regarding leave of absence for military and National Guard duty and employment.  Some of the federal guidelines set forth by the Act, include:

  • Legal employers must provide five (5) years of unpaid leave to active duty service members
  • Employers cannot discriminate on the basis of serving with the armed forces
  • Employers must protect active duty employees’ pension rights while they serve
  • Employers must provide healthcare coverage for employees leaving for military duty for the first thirty (30) days of their leave.
  • Employees must provide employers written notice before expected leave date

Payroll Deductions and Wage Garnishment

Virtually all employees endure some form of payroll deduction or wage attachment in the course of employment.  Some of the most commonly assessed deductions to an employee’s pay include:

  • Federal, state, and local taxes
  • Social security taxes
  • Insurance payment deductions
  • Meal, housing, transportation, and other expense costs
  • Loans from employers
  • Payroll savings plans, such as IRAs and 401K

In addition, the courts may levy a lien against your wages in the form of wage garnishment or wage attachment for a number of reasons.  Some of the most common reasons for wage garnishments, include:

  • Back child support payments
  • Outstanding alimony payments
  • Student loans in default
  • Back tax liability owed to IRS
  • Any other creditor filing suit in a court of law

Most states offer protections for employees from being fired for their wages being garnished.  In some instances of employer labor law, if there are multiple wage garnishments in effect during a given year period, some states permit the firing of an employee. Additionally, the wage garnishment cannot reduce an employee’s total pay below the level of minimum wage.  There are a small number of items that an employer cannot deduct from an employee’s paycheck, which include:

  • Cost of tools and materials used to complete a job
  • Cost of required uniforms and other protective gear
  • The value of time for meal and break periods

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