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Frequently Asked Questions on Labor Laws


How do I File a Wage Claim?

For more information, please go to http://labor.idaho.gov/dnn/idl/LaborLaws.aspx.

What is the minimum wage in Idaho?

The current Idaho state minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. The minimum wage for a tipped employee is $3.35 per hour. The minimum wage for new hires under the age of 20 years old is $4.25 per hour but only for the first 90 consecutive calendar days of employment. See Idaho Code, Section 44-1502.

Do Idaho employers have to provide breaks or meal periods to employees?

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

When can an employer terminate an employee in the state of Idaho?

Idaho is a "work at will" state. This means 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; 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 policy, contract or agreement. The policies, contracts and agreements set up and enforced by the employer, must be in compliance with Idaho’s wage payment laws.

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 or a violation of public policy. For information about discrimination, contact the Idaho Human Rights Commission, 317 W. Main St., Boise, Idaho 83735-0060 or call (208) 334-2873. See the website at http://humanrights.idaho.gov/.

Who do employers contact if an employee needs to file a workers’ compensation claim?

Questions regarding work-related illness or injury, or workers' compensation benefits should be addressed to the Idaho Industrial Commission, P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0041 or call (208) 334-6000 or toll free (800) 950-2110. See the website at http://www.iic.idaho.gov/.

When are employers required to pay 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. An exemption may only be given and / or approved by the U.S. Department of Labor.

In figuring overtime each workweek stands alone; there can be NO averaging of two or more workweeks together. Example: employee worked 48 hours the first week and 22 hours the second week. He must be paid 40 regular hours the first week in addition to 8 hours of overtime. The second week he would be paid his regular pay per hour for 22 hours.

Information about the overtime provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act is available from the U.S. Department of Labor offices below or at their website at http://www.dol.gov/elaws/.

Northern Idaho
U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
300 Fifth Ave., Suite 1130
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone (206) 398-8039 or
toll free (866) 487-9243
Southwestern and Eastern Idaho
U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
620 SW Main St. Room 423
Portland, Ore.,97205
Phone (503) 326-3057 or
toll free (866) 487-9243

When is the last paycheck due after an employee separates?

Idaho law requires that if an employee quits, is terminated or laid off, all wages then due must be paid the sooner 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 old to work in non-agricultural jobs. Idaho Child Labor Laws are found in Idaho Statute section 44, chapter 13. These laws are enforced by local school boards and probation officers.

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 and lists hazardous occupations both on and off the farm that the Secretary of Labor has declared too dangerous for minors to perform. Further information is available from the U.S. Department of Labor offices listed previously or online at http://www.youthrules.dol.gov.

How can an employer obtain the status of a wage claim filed against him or her?

If the employer doesn’t remember who is handling the case, any labor compliance officer can answer questions regarding the claim at 1-800-843-3193.

How does an employer contact the Social Security Administration?

For general information and services or to schedule an appointment, call toll-free at (800) 772-6270 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. or go online at http://www.ssa.gov/.

How do employers contact the federal Wage and Hour Division?

Contact the nearest U.S. Department of Labor Wage & Hour Division listed below or go online at http://www.dol.gov/whd/flsa/.

Northern Idaho
U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
300 Fifth Ave., Suite 1130
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone (206) 398-8039 or
toll free (866) 487-9243
Southwestern and Eastern Idaho
U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
620 SW Main St. Room 423
Portland, Ore.,97205
Phone (503) 326-3057 or
toll free (866) 487-9243

Can employers withhold wages if employees owe them money?

Employers may not withhold any portion of an employee’s wages unless required to by state or federal law or if the employer has written authorization to make deductions from an employee’s paycheck. In most cases, even with written authorization, the deduction cannot reduce wages below the minimum wage. If an employer provides proof of an advance or draw against an employee’s future wages, the employer can withhold the entire amount of that advance or draw from any future paycheck.

What is the difference between an employee and an independent contractor?

In Idaho, this is an important distinction. Worker classification affects how workers are paid and their rights under wage and hour laws. It also affects their eligibility for benefits and 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 an individual is an employee or an independent contractor, contact a local Idaho Department of Labor tax representative.

What are the penalties 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 before the Idaho Department of Labor files a state lien, the maximum penalty shall not exceed $500. Idaho Labor determines the appropriateness and amount of any penalties awarded.

Penalties or damages plus attorney's fees when complaints are filed in U.S. 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.

If an employee gives a two-week notice of intent to quit, does the employer have to pay wages for the full two weeks if the employee is released earlier?

The law does not require the employer to pay for any time not worked. The employee would be entitled to pay only if it was the company’s policy to pay wages for the full notice period.

If someone was hired for a particular shift, can that employee be moved to a different shift without penalty?

Employers have the full right to schedule however they choose, unless bound by a contract or agreement.

What are the requirements to become a farm labor contractor?

An employer 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.

Download a licensing application and information about licensing requirements. For additional forms and information, return to the agricultural services page.

Under what circumstances do employees qualify for leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (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. Click here for an English version of all posters employers are required to post including the employee rights and responsibilities under FMLA. Click here for the Spanish version. For further information, contact the U.S. Department of Labor at the nearest office or online at http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/.

Northern Idaho
U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
300 Fifth Ave., Suite 1130
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone (206) 398-8039 or
toll free (866) 487-9243
Southwestern and Eastern Idaho
U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
620 SW Main St. Room 423
Portland, Ore.,97205
Phone (503) 326-3057 or
toll free (866) 487-9243

When does Idaho have jurisdiction over a wage claim?

The wage claim must be for work performed in the state of Idaho regardless of where the worker resides or where the employer is located. Likewise, if an Idaho resident is filing a claim for work performed in another state, the claim is filed against that state, which then has jurisdiction over the case, not Idaho. See Interstate Labor Standards Association website: http://www.ilsa.net



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