It’s important to stay up to date on all of the employment laws in your state so that you can maintain compliance in your business. We did some of the hard work for you and put some of the most important Georgia statutes in one place so you can either learn them for the first time or give yourself a refresher.
However, remember that our summary is not qualified legal advice, laws are always subject to change, and they can vary from municipality to municipality.
It’s up to you to make sure you’re compliant with all laws and statutes in your area. Consult with a qualified lawyer and/or your local government agencies if you have questions or concerns.
Here are a few Georgia employment laws every small business owner should know.
First, here are a few helpful links and resources for you to bookmark and refer back to:
- Georgia Department of Labor
- Georgia DOL Employer Portal
- Georgia Secretary of State: What Employers Need to Know
- Sick Days: Employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid sick leave to employees unless they have established their own policy or contract.
- Medical Leave: No statute, but employers may be required to provide unpaid sick leave in accordance with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.
- Vacation Days: Employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid vacation leave, unless they have established their own policy or contract.
- Employers may establish a policy that denies employees payment for accrued vacation upon separation from employment.
- Jury Duty: It is illegal for an employer to penalize or discharge an employee for taking time off to respond to a jury duty summons, but they are not required to provide paid leave.
- Holiday Leave: Employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid holiday leave.
- Voting Leave: Employers are required to provide up to two hours of leave if the employee gives reasonable notice and if the polls are not open for at least two hours before the shift begins or after it ends.
- Bereavement Leave: Employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid bereavement leave.
There are no laws dictating when an employer must pay a final paycheck to an employee who has been fired or suspended or voluntarily resigns.
- The current minimum wage in Georgia is $5.15, but the law does not apply to employers who are subject to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
- Georgia does not have any laws regarding paying employees a lesser rate than the standard minimum wage, but most employers are exempt from the state’s minimum wage because they are required to comply with the FLSA.
- The FLSA requires employers to pay tipped employees a minimum wage of $2.13.
- The minimum working age in Georgia is 12, but that only applies to employers who are not subject to the federal FLSA.
- Minors under the age of 18 are required to obtain a child employment certificate.
- Minors 14 and 15 years of age can work up to four hours on a school day, eight hours on a non-school day, or 40 hours in a non-school week.
- Their shifts must fall in between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.
- Minors 16 and 17 years of age have no time restrictions.
- Minors of all ages may not work in hazardous environments that could cause them harm.
Meal Breaks, Rest Periods, Overtime
- Georgia does not have any laws regarding meal breaks, rest periods or overtime, so federal rules under the FLSA apply.
- Federal law makes it illegal to discriminate based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age (40-70), citizenship status, and genetic information.
- The Georgia Equal Pay Act also requires employers to pay employees of the opposite sex equal wages for equal work.
Georgia is an employment-at-will state, which means that without a written employee contract, employees can be terminated for any reason at any time, provided that the reason is not discriminatory and that the employer is not retaliating against the employee for a rightful action.
A law was passed in 2017 preventing any Georgia localities from passing predictive scheduling ordinances. This means that unless the state itself passes a predictive scheduling law, employers need not worry about the legality of their scheduling practices.