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Know Your Workplace Rights This Holiday Season

Published Tuesday, November 30, 2021
by Jessica Loomin-Acting Administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage & Hour Division
Know Your Workplace Rights This Holiday Season

Tis the season for family and friends to gather, travel and exchange gifts.

While joyful, this season can also be stressful financially for Workers and their families and we all must stay vigilant about Workers’ Rights.

During the holidays - and every day, employers should ensure that they are treating Workers with dignity and respect.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage & Hour Division finds these common violations during this time of year:  

Failing to pay employees for all hours worked, including time spent taking inventory, completing paperwork beyond clocked hours, pre- or post-shift meetings, or waiting for shipment arrivals.

Giving paid time off time off for overtime hours worked instead of paying time and one half wages after 40 hours of work.

Considering certain Workers to be Contract Labor or Independent Contractors instead of employees - who should receive minimum wage and overtime protections.  

Making illegal deductions from pay in overtime work weeks, including breakages, accidents, tool replacement or equipment failure.

And protections for Workers involved in warehousing and interstate commerce activities.

This holiday season will likely show a rise in demand for Warehouse Workers.

Employees working in warehouses may experience additional work hours due to increased holiday shipment demands.

For many employees in this industry, their work involves receiving, shipping, transporting and loading goods.

Workers also prepare and manage documents relating to such shipments.

All of these activities are considered “interstate commerce” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which means the Employee performing such work is entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay protections.

Other Warehouse Facility Workers, such as Security Guards, Janitors and Maintenance Employees, perform work that is closely related and directly essential to such interstate, so they are also covered by the FLSA’s wage and Hour Protections.

In direct response to the known pay issues affecting Warehousing and Logistics Workers, the Wage and Hour Division has developed a strategic initiative to ensure compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act in this industry.

Data indicates Warehouse Worker hours’ peak during the holiday season, but other Employees working during holiday hours are entitled to protections under the FLSA too.

Employers must pay covered, non-exempt Employees overtime premiums for every extra hour if they work more than 40 hours in a work-week.

This rule applies whether the Worker is paid an hourly rate, salary, piece rate, commission or any other compensation method.

To determine a worker’s overtime pay, each work-week stands alone.

Regardless of when the holiday occurs, any hours worked over 40 hours in one work-week must be paid at time and a half of the regular hourly pay rate

The Wage and Hour Division also protects children under its Child Labor Rules that provide protections and restrictions for young Employees.

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