Nov 15, 2012 12:47 PM by Greg Boyce

Labor Department finds unfair pay in El Paso County child care industry

The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division has uncovered significant violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act's minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions in Colorado.

The Denver District Office conducted 103 investigations of child care service providers in Denver, Fort Collins and Colorado Springs, including franchises, employers with multiple locations and facilities operating under a state license. These investigations have resulted in the recovery of more than $393,000 in minimum and overtime wages for 867 employees.

Common violations include not paying employees for all hours worked, such as time spent attending mandatory training courses or work performed prior to or beyond scheduled shift periods; improperly classifying FLSA-covered employees as exempt from receiving overtime compensation; making illegal deductions from employees' wages that result in earnings falling below the federal minimum wage; paying "straight time" rates for all hours worked, rather than time and one-half for hours worked over 40 in a week; and failing to maintain accurate records of employees' work hours and wages.

"The goal of this ongoing initiative is to remedy systemic labor violations, ensure compliance among employers previously found in violation of the FLSA and promote sustained compliance throughout the child care industry," said Cynthia Watson, the Wage and Hour Division's regional administrator in the Southwest. "We will inform employers of their responsibilities, engage them in dialogue about compliance problems and seek their commitments to ensure lasting compliance with the FLSA."

Child care is a rapidly expanding industry that employs many low-wage workers who are often vulnerable to disparate treatment and labor violations. In addition to Colorado, the Wage and Hour Division is conducting similar enforcement initiatives in Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, Texas, North Dakota and South Dakota. The Colorado initiative will continue through 2013.

For information about federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or its Denver office at 504-589-6171. Information also is available here.




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