As I catch up from being at the ABA Annual Meeting, my colleague, Mick Lavelle, prepared this terrific little post about some long-standing labor statutes that employers should not ignore.
The Connecticut Department of Labor enforces statutes which were first enacted in the days when payroll records were paper documents, to be stored in filing cabinets.
Our more modern era of electronic data storage does not excuse compliance, as some employers have learned after being caught short in a DOL Wage and Workplace Standards audit. However, waiver of these requirements can be obtained relatively easily.
In a recent post in his summer series on employment basics, Dan wrote of the authorization available on line from the DOL website for employer deductions from pay to reimburse advance vacation pay.
Although deductions from pay (other than deductions legally required) must be approved by the DOL, per Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-71e, the department routinely grants approval for such standard deductions as advance vacation pay, along with employee loans, United Way contributions, 401K contributions, and the like. Forms can be filled out and filed on line with relatively little effort.
There are two other DOL authorization "traps for the unwary," as lawyers say. Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-71i requires weekly pay, and Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-66 requires that time and wage records be kept at the employee’s place of employment. However, waivers of these requirements are also available on line at the DOL website.
A bi-weekly payday has become more or less standard, and the DOL will approve pay every other week (26 pay periods per year, not 24). For employers with multiple work sites, the DOL will also accommodate "storage" of pay records at a central location, especially since such storage is often electronic in any case.
Recently an employer whose business consists of several small convenience stores was sanctioned in an DOL audit because the pay records of the store clerks were not kept on site, although there was a computer terminal from which the records could be accessed. The employer had not obtained a waiver prior to the audit.
The lesson for Connecticut employers is to take the time to obtain DOL waivers and authorizations and keep copies on file to satisfy a DOL auditor.