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What are the FLSA's recordkeeping rules?

It wasn't that long ago that workers had very few, if any, protections in the workplace. They were expected to work grueling hours for little pay, and employers were free to discriminate against and harass employees at their discretion. Fortunately, the federal and state governments have taken steps to increase worker protections. Perhaps the biggest piece of legislation to further employee rights is the Fair Labor Standards Act. The FLSA has a lot of provisions, though, which can make it hard to understand. This week we will look at one section of the FLSA that may be important to those who have been mistreated by their employers.

While the FLSA requires employers to adhere to wage and hour laws, it also regulates employer recordkeeping. Under the FLSA, employees must keep accurate records for each employee. These records may include an employee's name and Social Security number, his address, date of birth, sex, occupation, hours worked, overtime earnings per week, wages paid for each calendar period and all deductions from an employer's wages. These records must be maintained, updated and made available for inspection by the Department of Labor.

Why is it so important for employers to keep these records? Accurate records allow employees and the Department of Labor to identify any wrongdoing on the part of employers. For example, if an employer fails to account for deductions from an employee's pay, then an employee and the Department of Labor may have justification to dig further into the employer's practices to determine if any employee rights have been violated.

If it turns out that an individual believes that his or her rights have been violated, then it might be proper to take legal action. Depending on the circumstances, doing so could result in the recovery of owed overtime or other lost wages. To learn more, these individuals may want to discuss the matter with a qualified attorney of their choosing.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, "Fact Sheet #21: Recordkeeping Requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)," accessed on March 20, 2017