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US Labor Department enforcement initiative results in more than $170,000 in back wages for more than 600 child care workers in Kentucky
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — An ongoing enforcement initiative conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division focusing on the child care industry in Kentucky has uncovered significant violations of the minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. In fiscal year 2013, the division's Louisville District Office conducted 59 cases involving child care providers, resulting in more than $170,000 in back wages for more than 600 workers.
"Our ongoing initiative in Kentucky seeks to remedy widespread labor violations, ensure compliance among employers previously found in violation of the FLSA and promote compliance throughout the child care industry. It is important that workers in this industry are paid their rightful wages and treated with respect, so they, in turn, can provide quality child care service to Kentucky's working families," said Karen Garnett, director of the Wage and Hour Division's Louisville District Office. "The department is seeking compliance commitments from employers to prevent future labor violations and ensure lasting industrywide compliance."
Common violations found include employers failing to count time spent when employees attend mandatory training courses as compensable; improperly classifying FLSA-covered employees as exempt from receiving overtime compensation; making illegal deductions from employees' wages that resulted in earnings falling below the federal minimum wage; paying employees straight-time wages rather than time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek; missed payrolls that resulted in additional minimum wage and overtime violations; and failing to maintain the required record keeping.
Wage and Hour investigators continue to make unannounced visits to child care service providers throughout Kentucky, including franchises, enterprises with multiple locations and facilities operating under a state license. Investigations include thorough inspections of payroll records and employment practices, as well as employee interviews, to ensure compliance with all applicable labor standards.
In addition to enforcement efforts, the division is conducting outreach to workers, employee associations, community organizations, state and local agencies and other stakeholders to inform them of the ongoing initiative and encourage their participation in promoting industrywide compliance. The division is continuing to provide compliance assistance and education to employers, industry associations and state licensing agencies on all applicable regulations, and will continue the initiative this year.
The child care industry employs many low-wage workers who, due to a lack of knowledge of the law or hesitance to exercise their rights, are vulnerable to disparate treatment and labor violations.
The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Additionally, employers must maintain accurate time and payroll records.
The division's Louisville District Office can be reached at 502-582-5226. Information on the FLSA and other wage laws is available by calling the division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or by visiting http://www.dol.gov/whd/.