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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Essay on Fair Labor Standards Act

It is a good business practice for employers to give proper attention to employees who start work early, stay beyond scheduled hours, and come in to work on days off.  A policy should be in place so that the hours of work shall be limited only to the regular hours of work and that to be compensable overtime work should be with the approval of the respective managers in every department (David J. Walsh, 2010, p.379).

The reason for this is that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which is a federal law that establishes the minimum wage, overtime pay affecting full-time and part-time workers.  Under the FLSA, employers should give overtime pay to their employees who work over 40 hours per week (“Overtime Pay”, p.1).  The overtime payment shall be at a rate at least one-half their regular rates of pay. 

For instance, several groups of employees render work beyond the 40 hours per week, these employees may in the future ask their employer to compensate them for their overtime work.  In this situation, the employers may be required to pay their employees for work that should have been done and can be done during regular working hours.  It would be prejudicial to the interest of the employers who cannot argue that they are not required to pay their employees for their overtime work since the law is mandatory for covered companies.  The only way for companies to be exempt from the application of FLSA is to establish that the due to the salary and job duties of the employees who rendered overtime work they are excluded from claiming overtime compensation. 

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The issue based on this scenario is whether the noticed sent via certified mail to the employee is sufficient compliance to the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986.  The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) of 1986 is a law which provides safety net to employees when they lose their group health plan upon separation from work.  Under COBRA, employees who voluntarily resign from a job or are terminated for reasons other than gross misconduct are guaranteed to continue their group plan for up to 18 months at their own expense.  The same law also requires the employers to notify the employees of their rights.  According to the United States Department of Labor, employers have the duty to provide employees who are no longer eligible for health coverage with a specific notice regarding their rights to COBRA continuation benefit (“FAQs For Employees About COBRA Continuation Health Coverage”, p.1).

Following the ruling of the court in the case of Degruise v. Sprint Corp., 2002 U.S. App. LEXIS 1116, an employer who sends notice to an employee of his termination and informs him about his COBRA rights via certified mail is deemed to have complied with his obligation under the law.  The law does not require the employer to ensure that the notification is personally received by the employees.  Neither is it the duty of the employers to re-send the notice which they have previously sent to the employees in case they find out that the employee concerned failed to receive the notification. 

The only requirement placed upon employers under the law is to make a good faith attempt to comply with notification provisions.  In this case, the fact that the company attempted to deliver the mail to the employee even if the company finds out later on that the letter was returned is sufficient compliance with the requirement of good faith.

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