labor law guide
The Louisiana employment laws every business owner should know
Wages and breaks
There is no state law for tipped wages either.
The federal minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.13.
Under the FLSA, employers are permitted to take a tip credit based on tips earned by employees and count them towards the standard minimum wage.
Non-exempt employees must be paid an overtime rate of 1 ½ times the regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in one workweek.
The federal overtime laws stipulate that the minimum salary requirement for administrative, professional, and executive exemptions is $684 per week, or $35,568 per year.
Aside from the required meal period for minor employees, there are no other state laws regarding breaks or meal periods for adult employees.
Federal law does not require employers to provide meal periods or breaks, but if they choose to do so, breaks lasting less than 20 minutes must be paid.
Meal periods do not need to be paid if employees are free to do as they wish.
Final paychecks in Louisiana
Employers must pay employees in Louisiana who are terminated, who resign or who are separated from employment due to a labor dispute all final wages by the next regularly scheduled payday or within 15 days, whichever comes first.
Louisiana child labor laws
Wage and hour laws stipulate that minors under the age of 16 may not work more than 3 hours on a school day, more than 8 hours on a non-school day, more than 18 hours in a school week, more than 40 hours in a non-school week, or outside of the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. (except from June 1 through Labor Day, when they may work until 9 p.m.).
Minors 16 years of age may not work between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. on school days.
Minors 17 years of age may not work between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. on school days.
All minor employees must receive a meal period after working for 5 consecutive hours.
State law does not require employers to provide paid or unpaid sick leave, but they must comply with their own established policies laid out in an employee handbook if they choose to implement one.
Employers may be required to provide an employee unpaid leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act or other federal laws.
Louisiana law does not require employers to provide paid leave or unpaid vacation, but if they choose to implement a leave policy, compliance laws apply.
Employers cannot refuse to pay out any accrued vacation time upon separation from employment.
Employers can cap the amount of vacation time that may be accrued, and can also implement a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy that requires employees to use their leave by a set date.
If an employee gives reasonable notice of their jury obligation, employers are not allowed to punish them for responding to the summons.
If an employee is called to serve on a state petit or grand jury, they must be paid up to 1 day’s worth of wages and cannot be required to use any available vacation or sick leave.
Private employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid time off for holidays.
Louisiana does not require employers to provide leave.
Employers are not required to provide bereavement leave.
Employers must allow their employees to take leave to serve as a first responder during an emergency.
Employers with 20 or more employees at a worksite must allow their employees to take up to 40 hours of leave to donate bone marrow. To be eligible, an employee must work an average of 20 hours a week or more. The leave must be paid.
Employers with 25 or more employees in the state must allow their employees to take up to six weeks of leave for normal pregnancy and childbirth and up to four months of leave to address pregnancy-related disabilities.
Employers must allow their employees to take military leave. While on leave, the employee is entitled to continue to accrue vacation and other benefits.
After their service, the employee is entitled to return to their job. For one year, the employer may not discharge the employee without cause.
Hiring and firing
Federal law makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate based on: 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.
Additionally, the state of Louisiana prohibits discrimination based on wage garnishments (three or fewer per year), sickle cell trait, and status as a smoker or non-smoker.
Click here to read our blog on what acceptable and unacceptable questions to ask during an interview.
Louisiana 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.
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.
Most employers in Louisiana are free to set paydays of their choosing. Employers that are involved in manufacturing, boring for oil, or mining and have at least 10 employees must pay their employees at least semimonthly, as close to every two weeks as practical. All public service corporations must pay their employees at least semimonthly, as close to every two weeks as practical.
When hiring a new employee, employers in manufacturing, boring, mining and public service must provide the following information: Their rate of pay; The method by which wages are paid; How often wages are paid.
If an employer does not designate paydays, they must pay their employees on the 1st and 16th of the month. Employers in manufacturing, boring for oil, mining, and public service must pay their employees by the end of the next pay period.
COBRA is a federal law that allows many employees to continue their health insurance benefits after their employment ends. Because federal COBRA only applies to employers that have 20 or more employees, many states have adopted their own versions of the law, which are known as “mini-COBRAs.” Louisiana’s mini-COBRA allows employees to continue their coverage for up to 12 months. Each individual certification of coverage must contain a notice of the right to continue coverage.
Employers may not discharge or discriminate against an employee for doing any of the following in good faith: Report or threaten to report an alleged violation of the law, participate in an investigation or proceeding regarding a violation of the law, oppose or refuse to participate in an unlawful practice, or report another employee for sexual abusing a minor to the police.
Employers who run background checks should ensure they’re following the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which are available here.
Louisiana requires that employers conduct background checks on the following types of employees or applicants: Insurance business personnel; personnel who work for a family childcare provider; personnel who work for an in-home childcare provider; non-licensed personnel who provide nursing care, health-related services, medic services, or supportive assistance; and ambulance personnel.
You are considered an employee in Louisiana unless you are free from direction and control, and if your work is independent of the type of work usually performed by the business or on the location of the business that hired you. You are also considered an independent contractor.
Independent contractors are not eligible for unemployment benefits.
An employer may not do the following: Request or require an employee or applicant for employment to disclose any username, password, or other authentication information that allows access to the employee’s or applicant’s personal online account; or discharge, discipline, fail to hire, or otherwise penalize or threaten to penalize an employee or applicant for employment for failure to disclose any information specified in this Subsection.
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View the resources available to Louisiana business owners and workers impacted by the coronavirus outbreak in our state-by-state COVID-19 Resource Center.
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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.