Wage & Hour Laws -- Employee
Idaho wage and hour laws protect employees from unlawful acts regarding their pay and benefits. However, these same laws can protect employers, too. Because these laws apply across the board to non-exempt employees, it is important to be aware of what your rights are. Wages for exempt employees are governed by a different set of laws. Exempt employees can be over-the-road truck drivers, contractors and more.
While many states have enacted laws to raise the minimum wage above the federal minimum wage, Idaho is not currently one of those states. The minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. For employees that receive tips, the minimum wage is $3.35 an hour. For employees 20 years old and younger, an employer can pay $4.25 an hour during the first 90 days of employment. It is considered a “training minimum wage.”
An employer can make a policy that guarantees an employee meal periods and breaks; however, there is no law that requires him or her to do so. This applies to those employees who work overtime.
It’s best to speak with your employer first, as it could simply be an oversight. However, as a non-exempt employee, minimum wage requirements must be met. If your pay rate has been reduced and it still meets the minimum wage requirements, the employer is within his or her rights. You must be notified, though, of any reduction in pay before working at a lower rate. If you have already worked and a lower pay rate is put into place by your employer, you could file a claim for damages from your employer.
Yes, Idaho is a state that is recognized as “work at will.” This means that you may be let go at any time for any legal reason. There is no requirement that the employer give you notice, and your employer-employee relationship can end with or without cause. However, if the policies set forth by the employer address the termination of an employee, those policies must be followed.
Some exceptions exist for terminating an employee. For example, if the termination is due to retaliatory or discriminatory reasons, the employer is in the wrong. If you believe that your employer has discriminated against you based on age, color, race, sex, national origin, disability or religion, you should contact the Idaho Human Rights Commission.
If an employee works more than 40 a week, he or she is entitled to overtime pay unless considered exempt. The Fair Labor Standards Act governs overtime pay for non-exempt employees. Questions regarding overtime pay should be directed to the U.S. Department of Labor.
If you quit, are laid off or are fired, then all of the wages due to you must be paid within 10 days or on the next payday — whichever is sooner. However, if you request your wages in a written request, then the employer must pay you within 48 hours, not counting holidays or weekends.
The Wage and Hour Section of the U.S. Department of Labor handles wage claims. You may also use Small Claims Court. An attorney can also be very valuable when it comes to collecting wages that are due to you. A claim for wages may be filed online at the Department of Labor website. The amount of wages that may be claimed by a wage claim or in Small Claims Court is limited to $5,000.
As you can see, there are many intricacies to wage and hour laws in Idaho. It is recommended that an experienced employment attorney provide advice on how to address any issues you may have as an Idaho employee.