Alabama Labor Laws Guide
Ultimate Alabama labor laws guide: minimum wage, overtime, break, leave, hiring, termination, and miscellaneous labor laws.
|Alabama Labor Laws FAQ|
|Alabama minimum wage||$7.25|
|Alabama overtime||1.5 times the regular wage for any time worked over 40 hours/week
($10.87 for minimum wage workers)
|Alabama breaks||Breaks not required by law|
Table of contents
Alabama wage laws
The state of Alabama is one of the few US states that fall short of labor laws concerning wages. Therefore, they must follow the federal rules established by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The following are the regulations concerning the state minimum, tipped hourly wage, and the youth minimum wage in Alabama.
|ALABAMA MINIMUM WAGE|
|Regular minimum wage||Tipped minimum wage||Subminimum wage|
Alabama minimum wage
What is Alabama's minimum wage 2022?
Since Alabama does not regulate minimum wages, employees are entitled to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour according to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Tipped minimum wage in Alabama
What is Alabama's minimum wage for tipped employees 2022?
When it comes to the employees whose compensation chiefly comes from tips, rules also follow the FLSA standards.
According to the FLSA, a tipped employee is “any employee engaged in an occupation in which he customarily and regularly receives more than $30 a month in tips.”
Tipped employees' minimum wage in Alabama is $2.13 per hour — but their total earnings per hour must be equal to the federal minimum wage of, again, $7.25.
Furthermore, an employer can pay a lesser hourly wage (not lesser than $2.13) if the employee's earnings (with tips) exceed the minimum hourly wage of $7.25.
This is known as a tip credit and an employer is allowed to take a tip credit from an employee of no more than $5.12 per hour.
Also, if a tipped employee doesn't make enough to obtain the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour — the employer is obliged to pay the difference to equal the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
Alabama subminimum wage
What is Alabama's youth minimum wage 2022?
According to federal law, employers in Alabama are allowed to pay employees under 20 years of age a minimum wage of $4.25 per hour for the first 90 calendar days after employment.
On the other side, full-time students who work in retail, agriculture, or colleges and universities are entitled to 85% of the minimum wage.
The employer must obtain a certificate to be able to employ a full-time student.
Also, full-time students can work no more than 20 hours a week (8 hours a day) during school time, and 40 hours per week when school is not in session.
Alabama payment laws
The state of Alabama doesn't have any payday regulations. Here are the most common pay frequency schemes in the USA:
- Weekly — Employees are paid once a week (52 paychecks per year).
- Biweekly — Employees are paid every other week (26 paychecks per year).
- Semi-monthly — Employees are paid twice a month (24 paychecks per year).
- Monthly — Employees are paid once a month (12 paychecks per year).
However, there is a special regulation for public service transportation corporations in Alabama. Those who employ 50 or more employees are required to pay out their workers biweekly.
Alabama overtime laws
What is overtime pay for Alabama employees 2022?
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) stipulates that employees who work over 40 hours a week are entitled to receive an overtime pay of one and a half (1.5) times the regular rate of pay.
Overtime compensation is computed on a workweek basis and employers must pay overtime work on the regular payday.
The Act does not require employers to pay overtime for work during the weekend, holidays, night work, or any other rest day.
However, if there is a mutual agreement between an employer and an employee that overtime is worked during those days, an employer is required to pay overtime for those hours.
Also, employees over 16 are allowed to work an unlimited number of overtime hours.
Overtime exceptions and exemptions in Alabama
As of January 1, 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), employees whose earnings are less than $35,568 a year are considered nonexempt employees and are eligible for overtime pay.
Those who are exempt from the overtime rule include:
- Highly compensated employees who make more than $107,432 a year,
- Executives who are compensated on a salary basis and earn not less than $684 weekly,
- Administrative workers who receive a salary and earn not less than $684 per week,
- Learned and creative professionals who receive a salary and earn not less than $684 per week,
- Computer employees who work on a salary basis and earn no less than $684 weekly, and
- Outside sales employees.
The exemptions don't apply to “blue-collar” workers, police officers, firefighters, paramedics, rescue workers, and similar community workers.
Also, said overtime rules don't apply to the employees who work varying schedules, i.e., use the Fluctuating Workweek Method (FWW).
Fluctuating Workweek Method (FWW) in Alabama
As of May 20, 2020, salaried employees whose working hours fluctuate from week to week are entitled to overtime pay, too.
This work schedule is referred to as the “fluctuating workweek.”
For instance, a salaried, non-exempt employee will be paid $900 a week whether he or she works 40 hours per week or less, say 35.
In the case that the same employee works over 40 hours per week, he is entitled to an overtime premium of one-half (0.5) times the employee's hourly rate for each overtime hour.
Employees are eligible for the FWW method if they meet the following criteria:
- Work hours vary from week to week.
- Receive a fixed salary no matter how many hours are worked per week.
- Hourly rate equals or is above the federal (or state) minimum wage.
- Have a clear understanding of working terms and conditions.
In addition, employees who use the FWW are entitled to additional pay or benefits such as:
- Hazard pay
Examples for Fluctuating Workweek Method (FWW) in Alabama
Let's say an employees has a fixed weekly income of $900 and her previous monthly working hours look like this:
- Week 1: 38 hours worked
- Week 2: 40 hours worked
- Week 3: 47 hours worked
- Week 4: 40 hours worked
According to the weekly hours worked, only week 3 is eligible for overtime compensation.
To calculate overtime compensation, first calculate the hourly rate.
Since employees who use the FWW method are salaried workers, to calculate their hourly rate, they should simply divide their weekly salary by the number of hours worked for that specific week.
$900 / 47 = $19 per hour
Next, multiply the hourly rate by 0.5 for every overtime hour during a week.
Therefore, the overtime compensation for week 3 is:
$19 per hour x 0.5 = $9.5 for each overtime hour worked
Total overtime compensation for week 3 is:
$9.5 x 7 overtime hours = $67
Alabama break laws
Alabama doesn't have a state law concerning break or meal periods and hence uses the federal law instead. Also, the matter of breaks can be more of a mutual agreement between an employer and an employee.
According to the FLSA, an employer is not required to provide a lunch or coffee break during working hours.
Exceptions to break laws in Alabama
In the case when an employer does provide a short break (5 to 20 minutes), he or she is required to compensate the employee for the breaks as regular work hours.
Furthermore, bona fide meal breaks that last at least 30 minutes are not considered work hours — hence are not compensable. These are called rest periods when employees must be completely relieved from their duties.
However, if an employee is required to work during lunchtime — for example, a factory worker who is required to remain at his machine while working — then a meal break is compensable.
Alabama lactation laws in the workplace
Again, there is no state law for breastfeeding support in the workplace in Alabama. Therefore, federal law proposes that an employer must provide a reasonable break and a room for an employee to express breast milk at work. The room mustn't be a bathroom but a separate room explicitly used for pumping milk.
Breastfeeding employees are entitled to have a break to pump at work for one year after the child's birth whenever they need to do so.
This break time is not compensable unless the employee uses her compensated break for pumping milk.
Alabama leave requirements
The state of Alabama provides the following types of leave:
- Required leave
- Non-required leave
Alabama required leave
When it comes to required leaves in Alabama, federal and state regulations seem to overlap as well. What makes Alabama distinct is the fact that regulations for private and public employees differ in certain cases.
Take a look at the required leave regulations regarding Alabama employees below.
Holiday leave (public employees)
With regard to public employees, Alabama state offices must be closed on federal and state holidays. If a state office works on said holidays, employees are given a compensatory leave. In the case employees can't use the compensatory leave, they must be compensated at their customary pay rate.
Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)
The Family and Medical Leave Act is a federal law that offers covered employees an unpaid absence of up to 12 workweeks during one year. This leave is granted for the birth and care of a newborn baby, in the case of a serious disease, to care for an ill family member, and similar.
All employers are required to grant their employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for serious health conditions, child's birth, or ill family members who need care.
However, to be able to obtain such leave, an employee must have worked at least 12 months (i.e. 1,250 consecutive hours of work).
All employers are required to grant paid leave to employees who receive a summons to participate in jury duty.
All employers are required to grant employees who are registered to vote up to one hour of unpaid leave to vote.
If the polls open two hours before an employee's shift or one hour after the shift ends — the employer doesn't need to provide time off or may specify the hours during which the employee may take the leave.
Employees (private or public) are entitled to military leave without loss of pay, vacation, or sick leave.
Emergency response leave
Employees who are certified Disaster Services Volunteers of the American Red Cross are entitled to leave work as long as it doesn't exceed 15 workdays in a 12-month period without losing pay, overtime, vacation, or sick time.
Alabama non-required leave
Since state laws regarding leave regulations vary across states, Alabama doesn't require employers to give their employees days off in the following circumstances.
The USA is widely known to be a “no-vacation nation”. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers don't need to pay for time not worked including vacation leave, sick leave, or holidays.
If an employee has the right to a paid leave of any kind — that is usually a mutual agreement between an employer and an employee.
If promised — vacation must be granted and conditions must comply with the employment contract.
The same rules apply to sick leave — employers are not required to provide employees with sick leave benefits whether paid or unpaid.
Holiday leave (private employers)
Private employers are not required to provide employees with holiday leave — either paid or unpaid. In addition, employers don't need to pay any premium wage rates if employees work during holidays.
Employers in Alabama are not required to provide employees with bereavement leave. However, this doesn't apply to persons who are subject to the provisions of the state Merit System, legislative personnel, officers, and Legislative Reference Service personnel. They are granted up to three days of bereavement leave with pay.
Child labor laws in Alabama
Alabama child labor laws do have some distinction as opposed to the federal child labor law.
First of all, employers who wish to employ persons under 18 years old must obtain and display the proper Child Labor Certificate(s) on every premise where a person under 18 is employed. For minors aged 16, 17, and 18 — Class II Certificate is required. And, for minors aged 14 and 15 — Class I Certificate must be obtained and renewed annually.
Furthermore, minors aged 14 and 15 must obtain an Eligibility to Work form from their school which the employee must keep for reference.
Work time restrictions for Alabama minors
If an employer wishes to employ minors, there are several restrictions regarding work time that need to be followed.
For minors aged 14 and 15 when public schools are in session:
- Up to 3 hours of work on a school day.
- Up to 8 hours of work on a non-school day.
- Up to 6 days of work weekly.
- Up to 18 hours of work weekly total.
- No work before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. on any day of the week.
- No work during school hours (8 a.m. — 3 p.m.).
For minors aged 14 and 15 when public schools are NOT in session:
- Up to 8 hours of work a day.
- Up to 6 days of work weekly.
- Up to 40 hours of work weekly.
- No work before 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m. each day.
For minors aged 16, 17, and 18 when public or private schools are in session:
- No work before 5 a.m. or after 10 p.m. on a school day (or a night preceding a school day).
For minors aged 16, 17, and 18 when public or private schools are NOT in session:
- No hour restrictions during this time.
Breaks for Alabama minors
Each minor aged 15 and 16 who works five hours continuously is entitled to a documented 30-minute break.
For minors over 16, the Alabama Child Labor Law doesn't require any break whatsoever.
Prohibited occupations for Alabama minors
The Alabama Child Labor Law prohibits minors to work in any occupation that is considered hazardous.
The hazardous occupations are grouped into two categories:
- Occupations prohibited for minors under 16 include operating any sandpaper or wood polishing machinery, picking wool or cotton, manufacturing paints, colors, etc.
- Occupations prohibited for minors under 18 include wrecking, ship breaking, operating machinery over three tons gross weight, manufacturing alcoholic beverages, etc.
Note: These regulations don't apply to minors aged 16 or 17 who are a part of a work-study, cooperative education, or similar programs where employment is an integral part of the course of study and is registered by the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training of the United States Department of Labor or to the employment procured and supervised through the Alabama Department of Education and approved by the Department of Labor.
Furthermore, minors whose parents are aforementioned business owners are NOT exempt from Alabama Child Labor Law.
Working near alcoholic beverages
Minors under 21 are not allowed to serve or dispense alcoholic beverages in any kind of establishment where alcoholic beverages are sold, served, or dispensed.
However, minors aged 14 or 15 whose immediate family members are the owners or operators of such establishments can be employed provided that they don't serve, sell, or dispense alcoholic beverages. Also, minors aged 16 and above are allowed to work as busboys, dishwashers, janitors, cooks, hostesses, or seaters.
Record keeping and posting requirements
Each establishment that employs a minor under 19 must keep or display the following documents in a conspicuous place on-premises:
- A printed notice called Time Records that states the maximum number of hours that a minor is permitted to work each day during a workweek, break times, starting and ending times.
- An Employee Information Form that includes the employee's personal information, date of hire, and school of attendance.
- A proper Child Labor Certificate (Class I or Class II Labor Certificates).
- Proof of Age including a copy of a birth certificate, driver's license, or an ID card.
The Department of Labor has the right to enter, without prior notice, a business establishment that employs minors to make sure that everything complies with the act.
Penalties for employers (Child labor laws)
If an employer violates or refuses to comply with the said regulations, the department may impose penalties ranging from $300 to $5,000 depending on the severity of the violation.
Also, an employer has the right to request a hearing in the presence of an attorney within 30 days of the issue date of the notice.
Alabama hiring laws
There are some general provisions regarding hiring in Alabama that each employer must comply with. These provisions mostly apply to prohibited employment practices during hiring — such as discrimination.
For instance, under the Alabama Age Discrimination in Employment Act, it's unlawful to discriminate against an individual aged 40 and older while hiring, compensating, training, licensing, and similar.
Interestingly, another statute allows employers to have a “voluntary veterans' preference” over other applicants during the hiring process.
Furthermore, job applicants who have been charged with a misdemeanor criminal offense, a traffic violation, or a municipal ordinance violation have the right to “expunge records” — provided that:
- The charge is dismissed with prejudice.
- The charge hasn't been billed by a grand jury.
- The person proves innocence.
- The charge was dismissed without prejudice more than two years ago and provided that the person hasn't been convicted of any other felony during the previous two years.
As soon as the charge is expunged — the job applicant is no longer required to disclose any information about the charge or its expurgation during the job application process.
Finally, people with disabilities or visual impairments in Alabama have an equal opportunity to be employed. However, this only applies to public services such as public schools, political subdivisions of the state, etc. — provided that the person's disability doesn't prevent his or her job performance.
Right to work law in Alabama
A “right-to-work” state is a state where employees are allowed to make decisions whether or not to join a labor union. No one can force an employee to join a labor union as a condition of employment. Alabama adopted a right-to-work statute in 1953.
Any labor organization, employer, supervisor, executive or administrative employee in Alabama is not allowed to:
- Force an employee to join or to refrain from joining any labor organization, association, union, group, or similar as a condition or continuation of employment.
- Force or threat of violence to person or property.
- Collect, receive, or demand from any person a fee or sum of money as a condition for employment or getting a work permit.
- Forbid an individual to work, strike, or have the freedom of speech.
Even though municipal or state firefighters in Alabama have the right to join and participate in labor organizations, they are not allowed to strike against the state or of any municipality of the state, or be a member of an organization that asserts the right to strike.
If any person or labor organization violates any of the provisions stated above — a penalty of not more than $1,000 for each such violation will be imposed or imprisonment at hard labor of not more than 12 months.
Alabama termination laws
Most of the US states, including Alabama, don't need to have a specific cause for dismissing an employee.
Under Alabama law, employees can be fired at any time and for no reason at all. This is called the “at-will doctrine.” What's more, employees cannot file a suit for this kind of employment termination.
However, no employer has the right to use this doctrine and fire someone based upon race, age, ethnicity, and similar.
If an employee is fired for one of the said reasons, this is called wrongful termination. In this case, the employee can sue the employer and collect the compensation eventually.
Moreover, an employee may choose to quit their job at any time for any reason without any losses, damages, penalties, and similar.
Alabama final paycheck
Alabama doesn't own a state law that dictates specific rules about the employee's final paycheck. Consequently, according to federal law — employers are not required to give employees their final paycheck immediately.
However, this rule doesn't apply to sales representatives in Alabama. In that case, an employer is required to pay out any commissions to a sales representative within the period of 30 days after the discharge, resignation, or expiration of a contract.
Any other concerns such as unused paid leave or other benefits are a matter of the employer's and employee's mutual agreement.
Feel free to reach out to the Alabama Department of Labor for assistance or additional information.
Health insurance continuation in Alabama (COBRA)
Since Alabama doesn't have a law that protects full-time employees and their health benefits after the termination of employment, the federal COBRA law comes to their aid.
On that account, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) protects full-time employees who have terminated their employment due to job loss (voluntary or involuntary), death, transition between jobs, and similar. Said employees can keep their health insurance for another 18 to 36 months (depending on the case).
However, this only applies to businesses with 20 or more employees.
Occupational safety in Alabama
Since there is no state law that governs safety in the workplace, the federal regulations come to the aid of private sector employees in Alabama.
Therefore, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in Alabama entails that each private sector employer shall provide the employees with a safe environment free from hazards that can cause death or serious physical harm.
To ensure that a working environment is free from any hazards, the authorities are allowed to enter any facility during regular working hours and inspect its devices, machines, conditions of work, and similar.
What's more, any employee who believes that there's been a violation of safety in the workplace may send a written notice to the authorities and request an inspection. This act protects employees who file a complaint from disciplinary actions of any type.
If an employer violates any regulations from this act — a civil penalty of up to $70,000 for each violation may be imposed.
Here are the types of work hazards recognized by OSHA:
- Biological hazards — Mold, pests, insects, etc.
- Chemical and dust hazards — Pesticides, asbestos, etc.
- Work organization hazards — Things that cause stress.
- Safety hazards — Slips, trips, falls, etc.
- Physical hazards — Noise, radiation, temperature extremes, etc.
- Ergonomic hazards — Repetition, lifting, awkward postures, etc.
Miscellaneous Alabama labor laws
Certain labor laws don't belong to any specific group above, so we've decided to place them in the miscellaneous section.
The most significant include:
Alabama whistleblower laws
The state of Alabama has statutes that encourage and shield public and private employees who come forward about illegal conduct.
Therefore, an employer cannot discharge an employee in the case an employee reports any fraudulent behavior inside an institution. The code specifically states: “Employee not to be terminated solely for action to recover benefits nor for filing notice of safety rule violation.”
Furthermore, no one is allowed to threaten, harass, or discriminate against a person who “blows the whistle” and notifies the authorities about wrongdoings inside an institution.
“Discrimination prohibited against persons disclosing information, making charges, refusing to obey illegal orders, etc.”
What's more, state employees are protected from discharging, transferring, or discriminating if the state employee reports any kind of violation of the law.
However, Alabama doesn't have a state False Claim Act, so a whistleblower can file a federal False Claim Act instead.
The federal False Claim Act imposes liability on individuals or organizations that make a fraudulent record or falsely bill the government. It also encourages employees to file “qui tam” actions — lawsuits filed by private citizens who have strong evidence against those who conspire to commit an offense against the government. A whistleblower can even receive a reward as an incentive to report fraudulent activities against the US government.
Alabama record keeping laws
Each employer is responsible for keeping certain records, books, and accounts for service contract holders, i.e. employees.
Therefore, service contracts must include the following:
- Copies of each employees' contract.
- Personal information including the name and address of each service provider holder.
- A list of the locations where service contracts are marketed, sold, or offered for sale.
- Recorded claims files.
The employer is required to retain all records for at least 3 years after the termination or expiration date of the contract.
We hope this Alabama labor law guide has been helpful. We advise you to make sure you've paid attention to the links we've provided, as most of them will lead you to the official government websites and other relevant information.
Please note that this guide was written in Q1 2022, so any changes in the labor laws that were included later than that may not be included in this Alabama labor laws guide.
We strongly advise you to consult with the appropriate institutions and/or certified representatives before acting on any legal matters.
Clockify is not responsible for any losses or risks incurred, should this guide be used without further guidance from legal or tax advisors.
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