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Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

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FOH Field Operations Handbook
arrowChapter 64 Employment of Workers with Disabilities at Special Minimum Wages under Section 14c
arrowSection 64f Initial Investigative Activities

Section 64f02: Visit to the Establishment

  • Shortly after the initial conference, especially when the employer is a work center, the INV should tour the facility, with the director or other responsible official, in an effort to determine the following:
    1. The apparent functioning level of the workers with disabilities and whether any of them appear not to have disabilities for the work they are doing. Request the names of workers who do not appear to have disabilities for the work being performed at the time of the tour. A review of these workers' disability documentation may be necessary.
    2. The production methods used on major contracts. This will help identify which jobs or job elements are to be time-studied. Find answers to the following:
      • Are employees compensated on an hourly or piece rate basis? If paid a piece rate, who sets up the work area, replenishes the supplies, and counts the units produced? If done by the worker, is the time spent in these activities incorporated into the time study used to establish the piece rate? Failure to include all tasks in the time study will result in an artificially high production standard.
      • Are there significant amounts of "down time" as the result of changing work assignments, equipment breakage, or other reasons? How is this time recorded and paid for?
      • Is the work of a strenuous nature that would fatigue the workers over the course of the workday, causing a reduction in their productivity and earnings? Do the workers take breaks or rest periods and, if so, how is this time treated?
      • Are minors employed and, if so, are they employed in compliance with the child labor laws? Note: CL Reg. 3 occupations standards prohibit minors under 16 from employment in work rooms where goods are manufactured or processed, activities often performed in work centers.
  • Records review. During the initial conference ensure that the documents requested in the appointment letter are available. Conduct a detailed review of the records after completing the initial tour. Copies or transcriptions of time and payroll records should be included in the case file as needed. When reviewing payroll and time records, the INV should follow standard investigative procedures outlined in the FOH.
    1. Review documentation of the time studies to identify a sample number of job or job element standards to be verified during the investigation. Request copies of the time studies to be verified and include a sample of them in the case file (see also FOH 64g04 for methods of work measurement).
    2. Review disability documentation to ensure that the workers have disabilities for the work performed. Begin with a sample, but expand the review as necessary if problems are found.
  • Interviews.
    1. Workers with disabilities.
      • Formal interview statements may be taken from workers with disabilities in order to determine compliance. Prior to interviewing workers with mental retardation as the primary disability, INVs should obtain permission from the appropriate party, most often the worker's parent or guardian, if there is one. Often the parent or guardian possesses sufficient knowledge of the worker's employment situation to make a determination regarding compliance.
      • When interviewing a worker with a disability who is employed in competitive industry, the INV must take special care not to single out that individual from the rest of the employees or question other employees about the nature of the disability of the worker who is receiving a SMW.
    2. Staff. Interviews of staff can also help to determine the adequacy and accuracy of records, to substantiate or disprove alleged violations, and to discover other violations with respect to both workers who do not have disabilities and workers with disabilities. The INV should attempt to interview floor supervisors of workers with disabilities.
      • Ask the floor supervisor to describe how worker production is recorded and who records that production.
      • It is recommended that the INV select at least two workers with disabilities from the profile workweek and interview the floor supervisor who oversees their work.
        1. Using standard interview techniques, reconstruct these employees' starting and stopping times, average number of hours worked per day, per week, average units produced per hour (for piece rate workers), and average earnings per day and per week.
        2. Compare the information obtained from the interviews with the information reflected on payroll and time records.
        3. Verify the adequacy and accuracy of the prevailing wage survey. If the supervisor conducts the prevailing wage surveys, request a brief explanation of how he or she conducts the surveys to determine if done correctly.
        4. If there has been a minimum wage change during the investigation period, ask if the prevailing wage was verified after the MW change and if piece rates and hourly rates were changed accordingly.
        5. The supervisor should be questioned about such things as downtime, the restocking of supplies, and how workers are paid during these activities.
        6. Standard interview questions asked employees during an investigation should also be asked of the supervisor.
  • Conduct or observe confirming time studies. Follow these steps to conduct a confirming time study:
    1. Obtain from the facility a list of individuals to be studied who are familiar with the work and who perform within an average range.
    2. Study and observe the steps listed on the facility's time study documentation and compare them with those in the confirming time study to ensure that all steps required to do the job were included in the original time study.
    3. Conduct or observe the confirming time study for a length of time long enough to generate a work pace that can be maintained throughout the workday.
    4. Compare the results of the confirming time study with the standards established by the facility's original time study. Generally, if the variance is 10% or more, the reason for the difference should be investigated. The INV will particularly suspect the facility's standards if all the confirming time studies indicate that the employees need additional time to complete a given task.
    5. Check the contracts that were not selected for confirming time studies to ensure that time study documents, prevailing wage data, and commensurate wage rate calculations reflect compliance. If errors or inconsistencies are found in these documents, expand the number of confirming time studies.
    6. Do not require a facility to time study a new contract that involves identical tasks already time studied, or very small jobs in which a time study would consume all the materials required by the contract.
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