The Chicago Employment Law Blog

What Wage Records Do Employers Need to Keep?

Employers who fall under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are required to maintain certain records regarding the hours worked and wages earned by their employees. Failure to comply with these FLSA recordkeeping requirements could lead to penalties for employers.

For the most part, you may already keep these records as part of your ordinary business practice. These records may be enough to fulfill FLSA recordkeeping requirements, as the government does not mandate a specific form for the records.

The only requirement besides maintaining the information is that the records be accurate, according to the Department of Labor.

Some personal information that an employer must keep on record include the employee's:

  • Full name;
  • Address and ZIP code;
  • Birthdate;
  • Sex; and
  • Occupation.

In addition, employers have to record the specifics of each employee's workweek. This should include:

  • The time and day when the employee's workweek begins;
  • The hours worked each day;
  • The total hours worked each week;
  • The basis on which employee's wages are paid, such as an hourly rate or at a piecework rate;
  • The employee's regular hourly pay;
  • The employee's total daily or weekly straight-time earnings;
  • The employee's total overtime earnings for the workweek;
  • Additions to or deductions from the employee's wages;
  • The total wages paid out; and
  • The date of payment and the pay period covered.

Employers have to preserve these pay records for at least three years. In addition, documents like time cards, piecework tickets, and work schedules should also be retained. Employers who fail to meet these requirements can face monetary fines and even jail time for repeat and willful violations.

Keep in mind that there may be different recordkeeping requirements for employers in different industries. In addition, you may need to keep certain records longer under other laws specific to your state or locality. You should talk to an employment attorney to learn more about your specific obligations.

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