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The Fair Labor Standards Act

Introduction

What I am going to discuss today is with regard to wages and hour laws applicable to Hotel Employees. Actually it is a subject that quite interest me to research further and in more detail since it is a very important and vital issue in order for the employee and the employer to be aware of their rights and their obligations towards one another with regard to the big issue of money and finance management..

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

More specifically, there has been an Act enacted in 1938 that concerns all workers involved in interstate commerce. It sets standards regarding working conditions, such the minimum age and working hours. It has been occasionally amended and adjusted to keep the standards up-to-dated to the working environment nowadays.

According to ‘Understanding Hospitality Law' by Jack P.Jefferies and Banks Brown, educational institute, 200 1there is the Fair Labour Standards Act (FLSA) that from March 2001 the minimum wage for all hotel and motel employees is $5.15 p.h. (p.245)

This federal law means that that all hotel and motel employees of covered enterprises be paid at the rate of one and one-half times their regular hourly rate for all hours worked when exceeding 40 hours a week. Moreover tips as well can be used by the employer as tip credits that applied to the cash wage which ought to be paid to a tipped employee to meet the standards of the minimum wage. (p.246)

Furthermore with regard to meals and lodging according to the book the employer must provide the employee concerning a reasonable cost. Also under that federal law an allowance for maintenance of uniforms changes from state to state i.e. that means uniforms may or may not be used as a credit toward the state minimum mage. Finally about the student employees the book discusses that

  1. ‘The employee must be a full time student

2. Such full time students may be employed for not more than8 hours a day and 20 hours a week when school is in session (including summer schools)

3 .When school is out of session (holidays) the maximum number of hours that full time students may work during the week is increased by 8 hours for each holiday, but shall not exceed a total of 40 hours during the whole week.

4.Students under 16 years may be employed only during hours outside of their scheduled hours of instruction.

  1. No full time students may be hired under any full time student certificate

 while “abnormal labor conditions” such as a strike or a lockout, exist at the hotel, motel, etc

  1. Employers must comply with any more stringent applicable state or federal

 laws, including child labor laws with respect to the employment of student or child labor.' (pp.248-250).

State Employment Law

Furthermore, according to New York State Wage Board Approves Revised Hospitality Industry Wage Order. Jackson Lewis LLP - September 23, 2009 ‘The Department of Labor� 2009 Restaurant and Hotel Industry Wage Board has submitted its Report and Recommendations to consolidate the individual wage orders for the restaurant and hotel industries into a single Hospitality Industry Wage Order. Commissioner of Labor M. Patricia Smith had convened the Wage

Board to recommend changes in the wage and hour regulations that govern restaurant and hotel industry workers following recent modifications to wage rates, gratuities and allowances emanating from the latest increase to the New York minimum wage.'

Example Of Wage Complaints

There have been numerous examples of complaints and misuses of the laws with regard to the wages, one example I could retrieve was when there was the dismissal of 98 Boston area housekeepers on Aug.

Therefore in the USA then the general managers along with the resort managers seem to get paid the largest amount of money whereas the motel managers only get the lowest wages.

Successful Business

With regard to success and excellent collaboration ‘A successful business is due to productive employees, especially in the hotel industry.' To keep employees productive their needs must be satisfied. Effectively managing wage and hours is one way to do this. However, this can be challenging in the United States due to the decline in travel after September 11th. Further, laws will always be changing and policies must abide by these new rules. If management follows the regulations, it still does not guarantee unions and workers will be content. Hence, a hotels outlook on wage and hours must consider all these factors. Some choose to move workers to departments that are busy, others opt for layoffs. Perhaps the most popular trend is to mirror the competition's policies. Whatever the method, wage and hours must be constantly analysed to ensure success in the hotel industry.'

According to the article above then, there should be a cautious control and constant checking upon the hours of work with regard to the wages so as to result in excellent and efficient outcome.

 Actions To Be Taken For Successful Results

As a result, NEW YORK—‘Before the U.S. Department of Labor comes knocking at the door, there are a few precautions every hotelier should take to ensure wage and hour compliance, said experts during a concurrent session at the AH&LA Hospitality Leadership Forum Saturday. “There are three ways to be in compliance,” began Alfred B. Robinson, Jr., attorney at Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart. “The best way is voluntarily. The second is if you might have an investigation.” The third stems from private litigation raised by an employee.

In past years, back wages collected by the Wage and Hour Division of the Employee Standards Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor has increased steadily,'

Robinson said. 

“The most important thing to remember about wage and hour law is that the numbers grow exponentially at every single hotel or restaurant that's either sued or investigated,” said Arch Stokes, president and CEO at Shea Stokes Roberts & Wagner. Stokes said that “the most common violations come from the failure to pay for overtime.' “You have to keep track of the hours, and you have to make sure that the employees working for you are doing exactly what you want them to do.”

Moreover, ‘when subjected to an investigation from the Wage and Hour Division of the Employee Standards Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor', Robinson said there are a number of steps an hotelier should prepare for:

  • ‘Initial conference. “Use that to sell your side of your business and your side of the law. Use that as a time to put your best foot forward and sell your compliance with the law.”

  • ‘Examination of corporate records. Make sure your records are up-to-date.'

  • ' Employee interviews. “When they interview those employees, it's a private interview. … This could take weeks, months, or longer.”

  • ‘Final conference. “Basically, they're going to present you with their findings. If They find a violation, they expect you to agree to comply with the law, pay back wages and comply in the future.” When asked what is the best thing to do if an hotelier is concerned about his or her property, both Robinson and Stokes again stressed the importance of an internal audit.'

“Spend the time and the money on prevention, prevention, prevention,” Stokes said.

“If you do one and find some violations, don't do the ostrich and stick your head under the sand. Fix it,” Robinson said.

He stresses out the importance therefore that hoteliers should think carefully before acting and how that can actually save them from a lot of troubles.

Conclusion

Conclusively I would like to say that the topic that I chose for my law assignment has been rather informative and interesting for me because it made me do research on a very important issue of employment today, that is wages and how we can all employers and employees be satisfied with our profession and willing to give our best in order or to be successful in business. Nevertheless, the laws are always there for workers to justify them and make sure that nothing unfair happens to anyone.

References

1. http://www.answers.com/topic/fair-labor-standards-act

2. http://www.elinfonet.com/starticles/33/6

3.http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2009/09/26/hotel_staffing_company_faced_wage_complaints/

4http://www.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContentItem.do;jsessionid=5D9508F7960C60F49DDBD981D50FCBBD?contentType=Article&contentId=866928

5.http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/articles.aspx?ArticleId=327

6. Jack P.Jefferies, Banks Brown ‘Understanding Hospitality Law', 4th ed.

Educational Institute, copyright 1983, 1990, 1995, 2001