The Hawaii State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations (DLIR) and the United States Department of Labor’s (U.S. DOL) Wage and Hour Division recently announced they would be collaborating to promote compliance with wage and hour laws.
The agreement is intended to facilitate more effective and efficient communication and cooperation between state and federal agencies in the areas of outreach and education, investigations, and training. (Source).
“While it remains to be seen what this means for businesses, joint outreach and publications from the federal and state agencies will hopefully bring about more clarity and understanding for employers,” said Michele Kauinui, Director of HR for simplicityHR by ALTRES.
As a human resources regulations expert, Kauinui has to do double work to stay up-to-date on overlapping laws and keep local business owners informed of the implications.
“Quite often, and quite understandably, many employers don’t realize that regulations may differ between federal and state law,” explains Kauinui. “At the same time, coordinated enforcement activities and referrals of potential violations between agencies will require an even greater focus on compliance.”
Areas of common interest in state and federal wage law enforcement
Outreach and Investigation: The agencies agree to conduct joint outreach presentations, prepare and distribute publications, and jointly disseminate outreach materials to the regulated community.
Enforcement: The agencies may coordinate enforcement activities, conduct joint investigations, and make referrals of potential violations of state and federal law.
Information: The agencies will establish a methodology for exchanging investigative leads, complaints and referrals of possible violations as well as exchanging statistical data on violations in specific industries and geographic areas.
Training: The agencies agree to cross train investigators and other staff to educate staff members about the laws and regulations enforced by both, exchange information related to policy and regulatory changes, and to maintain dialogue about issues of mutual concern.
The U.S. DOL enforces the federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The DLIR enforces related Hawaii laws covering minimum wage and overtime, unpaid and timely payment of wages, child labor, and Hawaii Family Leave laws, among others.