We conclude our August series on HR basics with a look at what is probably the most-violated set of employment laws and regulations: wage and hour. Plaintiffs’ lawyers routinely look for wage and hour violations, and more often than not find them.  And you think that your employees won’t enlist legal help if they think they’re being shorted on pay?  Consider this crew, for instance.


Nasty, huh?

But it doesn’t have to be this way.  Compliance with the legal requirements is, with an exception or two, straightforward

Both federal and NJ minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

There are some exceptions, most notably for restaurant workers who are paid partly through tips.  Here’s how the state tells us to handle those situations.

If an hourly-compensated employee works more than 40 hours in one week, she must be paid time and a half for the hours worked in excess of 40.  No exceptions. More here and here.

And then there’s the big legal question: who is an employee and who is an independent contractor who can be excluded from all of the usual compensation considerations?  The legal news is continually full of reports of cases that decide which is which.  The dollars that hang on these decisions can get very, very big.  Here’s one way to head off trouble, guidance courtesy of the IRS.

So that concludes are quick run through HR Basics.  There are areas that we haven’t covered, but those mentioned in our four "basics" posts are the ones that will most commonly be encountered by the average business.

While we’ll probably post a bit more before August is done, here’s our main message as the month approaches its close.