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Labor Laws FAQ
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Labor Laws FAQ


What is the minimum wage in Idaho?

The current Idaho state minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, the same as the federal minimum wage. The minimum wage for a tipped employee is $3.35 per hour. A training minimum wage of $4.25 per hour can be paid to employees under 20 years old for the first 90 calendar days of employment.

Does an Idaho employer have to give me breaks or meal periods during the day?

Idaho law does not require employers to give breaks or meal periods. You would only be entitled to breaks if it is the employer's policy to provide them.

Does an Idaho employer have to give me holiday, vacation, severance or sick pay?

Neither Idaho law nor the federal Fair Labor Standards Act requires an employer to provide vacation, holiday, severance or sick pay. These items are matters for agreement between the employer and the employee or their authorized representative. If there is any change in a policy that is in effect, the employee must be notified prior to the change.

What do I do if I believe my employer is not paying correct wages?

You should first discuss this with the employer because the employer has the right to change your rate of pay at any time unless you are covered by a labor agreement or other form of pay guarantee. However, you must be notified of any reduction in your pay rate prior to the work being performed. Although your paycheck may be considered notification of a reduction, if you already performed the work, you could file a claim for wages for the difference in wages for work performed prior to the notification.

If you have further questions, contact your nearest Idaho Department of Labor wage & hour compliance officer.

What do I do if I believe I was fired for an unfair reason?

Idaho is a "work at will" state. This means that there is no set length for an employment relationship, and either the employer or the employee may end it at any time, with or without notice and with or without cause. If there is an employer policy, employment contract or union agreement, the employment relationship may be subject to the terms and conditions of that agreement.

There are some exceptions to an employer's right to terminate an employee. For example, employees should never be terminated for a discriminatory or retaliatory reason. If you believe you have been the victim of illegal discrimination based on age, race, color, national origin, sex, religion or disability, you should contact:

Idaho Human Rights Commission

P.O. Box 83720
Boise, Idaho 83720-0040
Phone: (208) 334-2873 or toll free (888) 249-7025
Website: http://humanrights.idaho.gov

How do I find out about filing a workers' compensation claim?

You should notify your employer of any work-related illness or injury. Questions regarding work-related illness or injury or workers' compensation benefits should be addressed to the:

Idaho Industrial Commission

P.O. Box 83720
Boise, Idaho 83720-0041
Phone: (208) 334-6000
Website: http://www.iic.idaho.gov.

When does my employer have to pay me overtime?

In accordance with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, overtime must be paid at a rate of time and one half for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek unless the employer or the individual employee is considered exempt.

For information about the overtime provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, contact the U.S. Department of Labor regional office listed below or access the website at http://www.dol.gov/elaws/.

In northern Idaho:

U.S. Department of Labor

Wage and Hour Division
300 Fifth Ave., Ste. 1130
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: (206) 398-8039

In southwest and eastern Idaho:

U.S. Department of Labor

Wage and Hour Division
620 SW Main St., Room 423
Portland, OR 97205
Phone: (503) 326-3057

Or call toll-free (866) 4US-WAGE or (866) 487-9243

When is the last paycheck due after a separation?

Idaho law requires that if an employee quits, is terminated or is laid off, all wages then due must be paid the soonest of: the next regularly scheduled payday or within 10 days of the separation - weekends and holidays excluded. If after separation occurs the employee gives the employer a written request for earlier payment of all wages, the employee must be paid within 48 hours of the employer's receipt of the written request - weekends and holidays excluded.

How old does a minor have to be to work?

In most cases, minors must be at least 14 years of age to work in nonagricultural jobs. Idaho Child Labor Laws are found in Idaho Code sections 44-1301 through 44-1308. Violations of the Idaho Child Labor Laws should be brought to the attention of the probation officer or the school trustees in the school district where the violations occur.

For businesses that fall under the coverage of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, the U.S. Department of Labor generally enforces the child labor laws. Federal provisions include restrictions on hours of work for minors under 16 years of age and prohibition on working in jobs considered hazardous occupations both on and off the farm as declared by the Secretary of Labor. Further information is available from the U.S. Department of Labor offices listed above or access the website at http://www.youthrules.dol.gov.

What can I do to get my employer to pay me for the work I performed?

If you have attempted to collect your wages at the usual place of payment and your employer will not pay you, or if you have not been paid all the wages due you, you may file a wage claim with the Idaho Department of Labor's Wage & Hour Section or you may file a civil complaint in Small Claims Court. You also may seek the assistance of a private attorney.

If you decide to file a wage claim with the Department of Labor, you can do it online at https://www.labor.idaho.gov/whclaim/home.aspx. Read each page carefully, follow the instructions and complete your claim. Attach supporting documentation directly to the claim.

If you are unable to attach your supporting documentation or are unable to file online, contact a Department of Labor compliance officer for help. Find a list of officers and contact information at https://www.labor.idaho.gov/pdf/wagehour.pdf.

How can I find out what is going on with the wage claim I filed?

You should contact the Labor Compliance Officer who is processing your claim. The officer will always have information about your claim and where it is in the administrative process.

How do I contact the Social Security Administration?

For general information and services or to schedule an appointment, call the toll-free number at (800) 772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., or access the website at http://www.ssa.gov/.

How do I contact the federal Wage and Hour Division?

You can contact the U.S. Department of Labor Wage & Hour Division nearest you by writing or calling the office listed below or accessing their websites at http://www.dol.gov/whd/flsa/index.htm.

In northern Idaho:

U.S. Department of Labor

Wage and Hour Division
300 Fifth Ave., Ste. 1130
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: (206) 398-8039

In southwest and eastern Idaho:

U.S. Department of Labor

Wage and Hour Division
620 SW Main St., Room 423
Portland, OR 97205
Phone: (503) 326-3057

Or call toll-free (866) 4US-WAGE or (866) 487-9243

How do I collect my money after an award has been made?

If an award has been made and the employer fails to make payment when due, the Idaho Department of Labor may file a lien with the Idaho Secretary of State. The Department will attempt to locate assets of the employer to satisfy the lien. Any information you may have regarding bank accounts or other assets of your former employer may be very helpful. If your claim is in the collection process, any information should be given to the Collection Specialist at (208) 332-3573, or to the Labor Compliance Officer who processed your claim.

When can an employer withhold my wages?

Your employer may not withhold any portion of your wages unless the employer is required to withhold by state or federal law or if your employer has your written authorization to make deductions from your paycheck. In most cases, even if the employer has your written authorization to make deductions, the deduction cannot reduce your wages below the minimum wage. If your employer gives you an advance or draw against your future wages, your employer can withhold the entire amount of that advance or draw from any future paycheck.

How can I determine if I am an employee when my employer treats me as an independent contractor?

For the state of Idaho, this is an important distinction. Worker classification affects how you are paid and your rights under wage and hour laws. It also affects your eligibility for benefits and your tax responsibility. Under Idaho laws an independent contractor is free from direction and control over how the work is performed. Some Idaho laws also require that independent contractors be established businesses, which may include having business expenses and income. If you are unsure whether you are an employee or an independent contractor, you may contact your local Department of Labor tax representative.

You may also contact the Internal Revenue Service and request Form SS-8. Complete the form and return it to the Internal Revenue Service at the address listed on the form. Based on the information provided, the IRS will make a determination as to your status as an employee or independent contractor. You may contact the IRS at (800) 829-3676 or access its website at http://www.irs.gov/.

What should I do if my employer treated me as an independent contractor when I should have been an employee?

If you believe you have been misclassified as an independent contractor when you are an employee, you may contact a tax representative.

Can I claim unemployment benefits while waiting for an employer to pay my wages?

Yes, a wage claim will have no effect on your unemployment insurance claim.

To file an unemployment insurance claim, go to the Idaho Department of Labor website at http://labor.idaho.gov and click on "File for Unemployment Insurance."

What evidence do I need to file a claim for unpaid wages?

As the claimant, you are required to prove:

  • You were an employee and not an independent contractor
  • The identity and address of your employer
  • The actual hours worked
  • Your rate of pay
  • The amount of unpaid wages owed to you by your employer.

Copies of any documentation you have to help prove your claim should be submitted along with your Statement of Claim.

Is there a limit to the dollar amount of unpaid wage claims?

Except in the case of minimum wage claims, the dollar amount is limited to the same amount that limits actions before Small Claims Court. Currently that dollar amount is $5,000. Claims for wages in excess of $5,000 must be filed with the District Court.

What types of penalties are there for employers not paying wages?

Administrative Penalties:
An employer who fails to pay all wages due after separation of employment may be subject to penalties of up to $750. If the wages are paid prior to the department filing a state lien, the maximum penalty shall not exceed $500. The department determines the appropriateness and amount of any penalties awarded.

Penalties or damages plus attorney's fees when complaints are filed in District Court:
If the court issues a judgment in favor of the plaintiff, the judgment may include all costs and attorney fees, and the plaintiff is entitled to recover from the defendant either the unpaid wages and penalties or damages in the amount of three times the unpaid wages found due, whichever is greater.

Who receives the penalties awarded?

If and when penalties are collected, they are paid to the wage claimant.

My employer promised me a pay raise; do they have to raise my pay?

Your employer must pay the agreed upon rate of pay. A promise of future pay increases is not an agreed upon rate of pay. Your employer can change or reduce your rate of pay at any time. The employer must notify you of any reduction in your pay rate prior to the work being performed. Absent an agreed upon rate of pay, employers are only required to pay the minimum wage.

If I give a two-week notice of intent to quit, does my employer have to pay me for the full two weeks if he lets me go earlier?

The law does not require your employer to pay you for any time not worked. You would be entitled to pay only if it was the employer's policy to pay wages for the full notice period.

If I was hired for a particular shift, can my employer require me to work a different shift?

Yes, your employer has the right to schedule you for any hours your employer may require unless the employer is restricted by any contractual obligations such as an employment agreement or union contract.

My employer yells at me and calls me names in front of coworkers and customers. Isn't that considered harassment, and what can I do about it?

If you believe you are being discriminated against, contact the Idaho Human Rights Commission at (208) 334-2873 or toll free at (888) 249-7025, or access the commission website at http://humanrights.idaho.gov.

What do I have to do to become a Farm Labor Contractor?

  • You must be licensed by the state of Idaho and pay an annual licensing fee
  • Post a security or cash bond to cover any unpaid wages
  • Carry liability insurance for all vehicles used in the farm labor contracting business
  • Carry workers' compensation coverage for all employees
  • Provide full disclosure of the conditions of employment to all employees at the time of hiring

»  Click here for the licensing application

»  Click here for information about licensing requirements

»  For additional forms and information, return to the Wage & Hour home page

Where can I get assistance/information regarding laws/requirements for my 401(k) and/or payment of my 401(k)/pension/retirement plan?

Most often, the information is available from your employer or the plan administrator. If you need additional assistance, contact the U.S. Department of Labor at (206) 553-4244, or access the website at http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/retirement/typesofplans.htm.

Where can I obtain an Alien Registration Card (“green card”) so I can legally work in the United States?

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

1185 South Vinnell Way
Boise, ID 83709
Phone: (208) 685-6600
Website: http://www.greencardplus.com/

Where do I report workplace safety violations?

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Phone: (208) 321-2960
Toll Free: (800) 482-1370
Website: http://www.osha.gov/

How do I know if I qualify for Family Medical Leave (FMLA)?

Covered employers are required to post a notice explaining the rights and responsibilities under FMLA and general written information about employee rights and obligations. For further information, contact the U.S. Department of Labor at the office nearest you or access the department website at http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/index.htm.

In northern Idaho:

U.S. Department of Labor

Wage and Hour Division
300 Fifth Ave., Ste. 1130
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: (206) 398-8039

In southwest and eastern Idaho:

U.S. Department of Labor

Wage and Hour Division
620 SW Main St., Room 423
Portland, OR 97205
Phone: (503) 326-3057

Or call toll-free (866) 4US-WAGE or (866) 487-9243

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