The Alabama Employment Law Guide

The state laws every business owner should know

Businesses must post all applicable state and federal labor law posters in the workplace.

Alabama labor law posters to download

Federal labor law posters to download

Wages and Breaks

Minimum wage
$7.25

There is no state law for minimum wage in Alabama, so most employees are entitled to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour as set forth in the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Tipped min wage
$2.13

Tipped employees must be paid at least $2.13 an hour in cash wage and make a total minimum compensation of $7.25 per hour, including tips.

Overtime
1.5X

The FLSA requires employers to pay employees an overtime rate of one and a half times their regular rate for all hours worked in a workweek in excess of 40, unless the employee is exempt from overtime requirements.

The federal overtime rule stipulates that the minimum salary requirement for administrative, professional, and executive exemptions is $684 per week, or $35,568 per year.

Breaks
None

Alabama does not require businesses to provide breaks.

Minor breaks
30 min per 5 hrs

Alabama law requires that employees who are 14 and 15 years of age and scheduled to work 5 continuous hours must be given a 30-minute break.

Final Paychecks

Alabama has no laws dictating when an employer must give the final paycheck to employees who have resigned, been terminated, or are laid off.

 

Child Labor

Youth who are 14 and 15 years of age must obtain an Eligibility to Work Form from the Alabama Department of Labor to work for an employer. Employers must also obtain a Class I Child Labor Certificate.

When school is in session, employees who are 14 and 15 years of age may not work for more than 6 days in a school week, more than 18 hours in a week, more than 8 hours on a non-school day, more than 3 hours on a school day, or before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m.

When school is not in session, employees who are 14 and 15 years of age may not work for more than 6 days in a workweek, more than 40 hours in a workweek, or before 7 a.m. and after 9 p.m.

Any establishment that serves alcohol is prohibited from employing anyone under the age of 16, unless the establishment is owned and operated by the youth’s immediate family. In that case, the youth may work in the establishment as long as they are not serving alcohol.

Leave Requirements

Sick days

Alabama does not require employers to provide leave.

Medical and Family Leave

Employers may be required to provide an employee unpaid leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act or other federal laws.

Bereavement leave

Alabama does not require employers to provide leave.

Vacation time

There is no state statute, but if an employer chooses to provide vacation leave, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or contract.

Holiday Leave

Alabama does not require employers to provide leave.

Jury Duty

Alabama requires employers to grant paid leave to full-time employees who are summoned for and participate in jury duty, provided the employee presents a summons.

Voting time

Employers are required to grant any staff members who is registered to vote and has given reasonable request up to one hour of unpaid leave to vote in any election.

If the polls open two hours before an employee’s shift begins or one hour after the shift ends, the employer is exempt from the requirement. The employer may also specify the hours in which the employee must take the leave if they are required to provide the leave.

Military Leave

Public employers must provide paid leave to active members of the military when they are called to duty. Although the statute covers private employers too, the Alabama Supreme Court previously ruled that requiring private employers to pay for military leave violated the state constitution.

The federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) is applicable to all employers in the United States.

Emergency Response Leave

Employers may not discharge an employee who is a volunteer firefighter or a member of an emergency medical service because they take leave to respond to an emergency.

The employer may require that the employee try to provide notice of the need for leave before missing work. Afterward, the employer may require that the employee provide documentation confirming they were providing emergency services.

Hiring, firing, and more

Discrimination

Federal law makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of: Race, Color, Age, Sex, Sexual orientation, Gender, Gender identity, Religion, National origin, Pregnancy, Genetic information, including family medical history, Physical or mental disability, Child or spousal support withholding, Military or veteran status, Citizenship and/or immigration status.

The Alabama Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits employers with 20 or more employees from discriminating against applicants who are 40 years of age and older.

Employers may not refuse to interview, hire, promote, or employ an applicant, or retaliate against an applicant because the applicant does not provide wage history.

Employers may not pay employees at wages less than they pay employees of another sex or race for equal work within the same establishment on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, education, experience, and responsibility, if performed under similar working conditions.

Private employers may have a voluntary veterans’ preference employment policy. It must be in writing and must be applied uniformly to employment decisions.

A state law was enacted in 2014 to streamline the process of having certain criminal charges expunged. Once a charge has been expunged, a job applicant is not required to disclose that the expunged record exists on an application.

The Alabama Persons with Disabilities Act requires employers to treat employees with disabilities the same as employees without a disability, unless the disability prevents the employee from performing their work.

Read our blog to find out what you can and cannot ask during a job interview according to federal law.

Termination

Alabama is an “at-will employment” state, which means that without a written employee contract, employees can be terminated for any reason at any time.

Record Keeping

Regarding employment and payroll data, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and others, you must:

For at least 3 years: keep payroll records, certificates, agreements, notices, collective bargaining agreements, employment contracts, and sales and purchase records. Also keep completed copies of each employee’s I-9 for three years after they are hired. If the employee works longer than three years, hold on to the form for at least one year after the employee leaves. 

For at least 2 years: Keep basic employment and earning records like timecards, wage-rate tables, shipping and billing records, and records of additions to or deductions from wages. Also keep the records that show why you may pay different wages to employees of different sexes, such as wage rates, job evaluations, seniority and merit systems, and collective bargaining agreements.

For at least 1 year: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says employers should keep all employment records for at least one year from the employee’s date of termination. 

Other record-keeping laws that may apply to you: 

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, you need to keep records of job-related injuries and illnesses for five years. But some records, like those covering toxic substance exposure, have to be kept for 30 years.

You must keep files of benefit plans and seniority and merit systems while they are in effect and for at least a year after they end. You must also retain summary descriptions and annual reports of benefits plans for six years.

If your company is covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act, you must also retain relevant records of leaves, notices, policies, and more for three years. 

Additional laws that may apply to you

Whistleblower Protection

Employers may not discharge or discriminate against an employee because they reported a violation regarding workplace safety, age discrimination, or child labor.

Background checks

Employers who run background checks should ensure they’re following the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which are available here.

Alabama requires that employers conduct background checks on employees of childcare and adult care facilities.

Arrest and Conviction Checks

To obtain criminal history information, employers in Alabama must have their chief executive officer or their designee request the information in writing. The request must also be notarized. Except for police officers, applicants and employees do not need to disclose their criminal history if it has been expunged.

Drug & Alcohol Testing

Employers may test employees for drugs or alcohol. If their drug testing program meets specific requirements, they may be eligible for a discount under their workers’ compensation insurance policy.

Compliance Calendar

Get our Compliance Calendar to stay on top of deadlines throughout the year: View it on your computer. Click + Google Calendar in the lower right to add it to your Google Calendar and subscribe to all updates. You can also download a calendar (.ics) file that you can import into iCal or Outlook, or download a PDF to your computer.  

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Remember

This 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. If you need more compliance help, we recommend consulting with a qualified lawyer, checking with your local government agencies, or signing up for Homebase to get help from our certified HR Pros. 

Additional Resources

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