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FLSA violations & more for Finance

Although the Department of Labor (DOL) went through a significant transition period after the election, it still managed to keep up with its enforcement efforts for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in 2021.

The Pay and Hours Division completed 24,727 cases in FY 2021, with an average of just over 71 days to resolve each case. And in all, the DOL collected more than $234.2 million in back wages for 193,349 employees.

Make sure you and your Payroll team are aware of the FLSA violations that the DOL has been most focused on. That way you avoid scrutiny and costly legal battles in the new year.

Recurring FLSA Violations

Looking at the types of FLSA violations the DOL handled this year, most of the issues were with minimum wage and overtime.

In FY 2021, the DOL covered 7,287 cases of minimum wage violations where companies paid nearly $26 million in back wages and 7,159 cases of overtime violations where employers paid nearly $139 million in back wages.

For the past year, FLSA violations were common in what the DOL called “low wages, high violation industries.” The biggest offenders were:

food services, with 4,237 cases where 29,209 employees received more than $34.7 million in back wagesbuild, with 3,034 cases where 21,341 employees received more than $36 million in back wagesretail, with 2,705 cases where 14,734 workers received more than $13.4 million in back wageshealthcare, with 1,194 cases where 17,079 workers received nearly $14 million in back wages, andAgriculture, which had 1,000 cases where 10,379 employees received more than $8.4 million in back wages.

The DOL received 20,279 new complaints in 2021 and recorded more than 850,151 enforcement hours in total. The agency also hosted 4,793 outreach events (excluding mailings).

Problems with FMLA

In addition to FLSA violations, the agency also investigated a significant number of complaints related to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): 928 complaints were filed in FY 2021. The top reasons were discrimination (281 complaints), termination (272 complaints) and denial. to grant FMLA leave (252 complaints).

Of all FMLA employee complaints, the DOL found 397 cases of valid violations involving 429 employees. They received more than $1.4 million in back wages.

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