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February 25, 2016
Wages, hours, and overtime: These are common concerns of employees starting a new job. New employees might assume that their employer will follow the law when it comes to communicating issues about wages. However, unfortunately, many do not. Some don’t follow the law out of ignorance of their legal obligations, and others don’t follow protocol because they know that it is to their benefit to keep their employees in the dark. Worse still, many employees put up with situations where their rights are violated because they may lack other financial and employment options.
Federal law governs the issue of overtime. 29 U.S. Code § 207 concerns the maximum hours that an employee may work. The Fair Labor Standards Act provides all the information necessary to explain the issue of hours and wages to businesses and their employees. Another useful resource comes from government advice on hours worked. This fact sheet explains which time should be compensated by employers as well as the pay rates that should apply to overtime.
When it comes to the information that an employer is legally obliged to communicate to employees, the Labor Code of Georgia is a must read. The Labor Code of Georgia clearly explains the obligations of employers. This Labor Code refers specifically to the information that must be exchanged between the two parties (the worker and the employer) before the labor contract is concluded. The most relevant section is Article 5(6), which states that an “applicant shall have a right to obtain full information about working conditions and work that he/she should carry out, about his legal position in the organization, as well as his remuneration.” This refers implicitly to the hours that an employee must work, and his or her overtime.
The Labor Code of Georgia also specifies the meaning of overtime, and even prohibits employers from forcing pregnant women to work overtime without their explicit consent. However, despite the importance of the Georgia Labor Code, it should be noted that Georgia does not have a wage-hour law— so employers should refer to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act or should contact a lawyer for information on hours, wages, communication with workers and any other important issues.