The number of these investigations is increasing every year; last year the Labor Department launched more than 30,000 actions against employers, forcing businesses to disgorge more than $170 million in back wages. That’s almost a third more than the department collected five years ago. Almost a quarter of a million workers got back pay last year, up 14 percent over five years ago.
The Labor Department is taking these actions as part of its ongoing enforcement of the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA. FLSA sets national standards for minimum wages, overtime pay, record keeping and child labor. Small businesses need to pay attention to the guidelines just as much as larger ones do. “You see the headlines about fines in the millions for large companies, but small companies also can face stiff fines that could conceivably hurt them even more than a larger company,” said Jamie Harrell, senior vice president at Nueterra HR Solutions.
Nueterra HR Solutions is a professional employer organization, or PEO. Small and medium-sized businesses turn to PEOs to handle complicated human resource chores; taking over tasks like paying wages and payroll taxes. They also help small business owners comply with the changes constantly coming from Washington in labor laws like the FLSA.
To keep your business out of trouble, a regular internal audit of wages and hours is important, according to Harrell. “If you’re too busy running your business and neglect your own internal audit, you could be in for a rude surprise,” Harrell said. “All of the nuances of wage and hour laws can seem inexplicable to a small business owner. That’s why a professional employer organization can be a valuable ally.”
Nueterra HR Solutions helps employers negotiate the increasingly complex world of state and federal employer regulations.
Nueterra HR Solutions is one of the country’s leading professional employer organizations focused on the health care industry. The company helps clients improve profitability by identifying ways to reduce employer risk and increasing the use of technology solutions to automate HR functions. Nueterra HR Solutions is a member of the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (www.napeo.org)
To learn more about Nueterra HR Solutions, visit www.nueterrahr.com.