Know Your Rules

know the rules

Ignorance is no excuse! Why even small employers need to know the rules.

Small employers sometimes think that “the rules” don’t apply to them because of their size. While that may be true of some employment laws, it’s easy to get on the wrong side of the rules that do.

John has a CPA firm with five employees. Since he considers and treats all his employees as professionals and tax season are in full swing, everyone is expected to work long hours. But John never takes into consideration whether he can legally require his employees to work long hours with no additional compensation. John needs to classify his workers as either exempt or non-exempt from overtime, based on their duties and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) classifications. John’s receptionist Jeff gets mad at him when he doesn’t allow him to take a day off during tax season, so Jeff files a claim with the Department of Labor for all the overtime, he thinks he should have been paid when he worked all those long hours.

Beth owns a small boutique in Maryland selling handmade items like scarves and accessories. She has two part-time employees, one who works from 10 am to 2 pm Monday through Friday and one who works 2 pm until 6 pm and helps Beth close up each evening. Both employees have been with her since she opened the shop two years ago. Her afternoon employee, Jill, tells Beth she needs to change her hours for the next ten weeks and leave two hours earlier each day because she has to take her mother to physical therapy appointments. Beth is sympathetic but really needs those hours covered, and tells Jill that she can’t take time off, and if she does, she’ll have to replace her.

Federal, state, and local government agencies are in the business of watching what employers do and acting when they believe that the employer isn’t following the rules. Why not let the HR Team watch your back and help keep you aware of what applies to you now and what new rules might apply in the future?

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