Louisiana Labor Laws Guide
Ultimate Louisiana labor law guide: minimum wage, overtime, break, leave, hiring, termination, and miscellaneous labor laws.
|Louisiana Labor Laws FAQ|
|Louisiana minimum wage||$7.25|
|Louisiana overtime||1.5 times the rate of the standard wage
($10.875 for workers earning minimum wages)
|Louisiana break laws||There are no existing state laws or federal laws that require employers to provide rest or meal breaks for adults
30-minute break after 5 consecutive hours of work for minors
Table of contents
Louisiana wage laws
The state of Louisiana has no specific state laws regarding wages and therefore relies on the federal laws, as stated by the US Department of Labor.
The exact numbers for the regular minimum wage, tipped minimum wage, and subminimum wage in Louisiana are expressed in the table below.
|LOUISIANA MINIMUM WAGE|
|Regular minimum wage||Tipped minimum wage||Subminimum wage|
Louisiana minimum wage
The state of Louisiana matches the Federal Minimum Wage Rate since it has no state regulations on this topic. The federal minimum wage amounts to $7.25 —$0.70 higher than it was in 2008 when the rate was last increased.
Tipped minimum wage in Louisiana
If an employee earns more than $30 in tips per month, they are considered to be a tipped employee.
Louisiana's employees that earn their wages through tips are entitled to the federal tipped minimum wage, which amounts to $2.13 by the hour.
However, if the employee does not make the regular minimum wage of $7.25 per hour in total (i.e. $2.13 by the hour + tips) — the employer is required to make up the difference.
Louisiana subminimum wage
According to the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act), subminimum wages can be paid to:
- Full-time students that work in retail, agriculture, and service establishments, and
- People with impaired productive capacity — i.e. people who are physically and mentally disabled.
The standard subminimum wage amounts to $4.25 for individuals under 20 years old for the first 90 days of employment.
When it comes to full-time students, they are eligible to receive 85% of the federal minimum wage, which amounts to $6.16 per hour.
Exceptions to the minimum wage in Louisiana
In terms of minimum-wage exceptions, the state of Louisiana also abides by federal law.
Certain professions and types of employees fall under the category of “minimum wage exemptions”, some of which may include:
- Farmworkers and seasonal workers,
- “Informal” workers,
- Full-time students,
- Minors and young workers,
- Tipped employees,
- Non-profit organizations and college/universities, and
- Employees with disabilities.
Louisiana payment laws
According to the Louisiana law, an employermust not provide payment less than twice a month if his business operates in the following industries:
- Oil and gas,
- Public service corporations,
- Mining and manufacturing.
Contractually, if the employer hasn't chosen a specific date for payments, they will be set to the 1st and the16th of each month by default.
As far as other industries are concerned, there are no specific laws for the types of payment and their frequencies. Usually, employees around the US receive their payments on aweekly, biweekly, or semi-monthly basis.
Louisiana overtime laws
According to the federal law, most employees that work by the hour are entitled to overtime pay — 1.5 times the rate of a regular hourly wage — for every hour worked over the standard 8-hour shift. The FLSA protects all non-exempt employees that work over 40 hours a week — any seven consecutive days of work.
As the state of Louisiana has no specific state laws regarding overtime, it follows the standards set by the FLSA.
This law strictly refers to non-exempt employees that earn a minimum of $684 per week, but there are many exceptions to the rule.
Overtime exceptions and exemptions in Louisiana
Even though overtime laws are designed to protect workers from exploitation by their employers, there are exceptions to the rule since there are groups and professionsthat are less likely to be exploited.
According to the FLSA, the employees that are exempted from overtime laws are the following:
- Executive and administrative employees that make a minimum of $684 per week,
- Outside sales employees,
- Professional employees (artists, teachers, skilled computer professionals, etc.), and
- Highly compensated employees who make more than $107,432 a year.
Louisiana break laws
Like many states that adhere to federal laws, Louisiana also falls under the category of states that have no specific regulations or laws regarding breaks for adult employees.
Employers in the state of Louisiana are not obligated to provide breaks during an 8-hour shift for adult employees. If they do so, any period described as a “break” must be paid — provided that it lasts 20 minutes or less. If employees choose to prolong the breaks, they do not have to be compensated.
Also, if the type of work requires an employee to work through a meal break (e.g. a security officer), the break period must be compensated for.
Exceptions to break laws in Louisiana
The only exception to break laws in Louisiana are minors.
When it comes to minors, Louisiana break laws require employers to provide a meal break after 5 hours of consecutive work that lasts for 30 minutes.
Louisiana breastfeeding laws
Under the Louisiana law, mothers can breastfeed at any workplace, and it is not a violation of any kind. However, the employer is required to provide a private room or an area where mothers can express breast milk (said private room cannot be a bathroom).
Furthermore, a certain period of time that is deemed reasonable by the employee will be given to her for lactating purposes, which will run concurrently with the predesignated break time that has already been provided, up to one year following the childbirth.
Louisiana leave requirements
Employers that operate in US states that abide by federal law — including Louisiana — are not obliged to pay for any time periods that an employee has not worked.
However, there are many cases where employers in Louisiana will provide a justified paid leave.
Regardless of whether they are paid or unpaid, we can classify leave days intorequired andnon-required.
Louisiana required leave
The following is leave time that Louisiana employers are required to assign to their employees.
Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)
In a 1-year span, Louisiana employees are eligible to use 12 weeks of unpaid work absence for many household and medicinal-related reasons.
Some of the reasons may include:
- Caring for a sick family member,
- Maternity/paternity leave following the year from the birth of a child,
- Diseases preventing employees from working, and
- Taking care of the household while a family member is on military duty.
To receive FMLA benefits, an employee had to have:
- Worked for the employer for at least a year,
- Booked at least 1,250 work hours, and
- Worked at the location with at least 50 employed workers within 75 miles.
Jury duty leave
Under Louisiana law, employees are entitled to up to a 1-day worth of wages for all the hours spent on jury duty.
Furthermore, the employer is required to provide a leave day for jury duty that is not a part of vacation or sick days that were determined by the contract of employment.
Emergency response leave
If an employee is called to act as a “first responder”, the employer must provide a leave of absence.
In most cases, such policies are governed by the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, and they'll usually include:
- Medical personnel and technicians,
- Firefighters, and
- Law enforcement officers.
Bone marrow leave (private employer)
In contrast to the majority of the laws that the state of Louisiana has, the one related to bone marrow donations is a combination of state and federal law.
An employee can receive a paid leave of absence to donate bone marrow if there are at least 20 workers contracted by the employer.
The number of hours of absence is determined by the employee, but they must not exceed 40 work hours unless there's a specific reason. In such cases, the employee is required to notify the employer.
Moreover, to be eligible for a bone marrow leave, the employee must work at least 20 hours per week.
Pregnancy and disability leave (private employer)
Under the state law, female workers are greatly protected when it comes to pregnancy and disability leaves (related to pregnancy leave).
If the said employee works at a business that employs at least 25 workers, Louisiana laws apply, and the employee is entitled to not more than 6 weeks of absence for normal pregnancies.
The employee is given 4 months of disability leave in case there are childbearing and childbirth complications, or if any medical conditions arise during the pregnancy.
Members of the military and the armed forces in the state of Louisiana are protected by both federal (USERRA) and state law (Military Service Relief Act).
All employees that serve in the military have the right to reinstatement after they've returned from their military duties. Furthermore, they cannot be discriminated against or discharged without proper reason up to one year following their reinstatement.
Employees who are protected by these laws are usually military members of:
- The Louisiana National Guard,
- The militia, or
- Other military branches.
Louisiana non-required leave
As we've seen, the state of Louisiana laws cover a variety of areas that could require a leave of absence — but there are certain situations where the state has no specific laws that require employers to grant this leave of absence.
Hence, here are the leaves considered non-required in the state of Louisiana.
Sick days (private employer)
An employer is not in any way required to provide a leave of absence — paid or unpaid — under the umbrella term for “sick days”.
However, if the company chooses to set specific policies regarding sick days, the employer can create a legal document regarding the accrual and use of said days.
Private employers are not obligated to provide vacation leave to their employees in the state of Louisiana — but can create legal policies that allow for certain days to be used as “vacation leave”.
Furthermore, if the employer decides to mark the vacation leave as “paid”, all unused days considered vacation days will be paid after the termination of the contract.
The employer is not obligated to provide days off — paid or unpaid — for national holidays in Louisiana.
Still, many employers offer such policies to improve employee morale and productivity.
There are no Louisiana laws that require employers to provide bereavement leave to their employees, paid or unpaid.
Child labor laws in Louisiana
According to federal law, students cannot work more than 20 hours during a school week. If, on the other hand, the school is out due to vacations or holidays, a student employee can work the standard 40 hours a week.
The child labor laws in Louisiana protect minors from any:
- Moral, or
- Emotional hazards.
According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, no minor can be employed until the city or parish superintendent of schools has issued a permit regarding employment — i.e. an employment certificate.
Furthermore, no minors under the age of 14 are allowed to work in the state of Louisiana.
Work time restrictions for Louisiana minors
When it comes to minors aged 14 and 15, the state of Louisiana has a concrete timetable regarding their work time restrictions:
- May work for 3 hours on a school day — or 18 hours in a school week
- May work for 8 hours on a non-school day — or 40 hours in a non-school week
- Cannot work before 7:00 a.m. or finish after 7:00 p.m. — evening hours are extended to 9 p.m. during the period between June the 1st and Labor day
Minors aged 16 and 17 have no special restrictions regarding work hours — but they must receive an 8-hour rest period between each workday.
However, minors 16 years of age are not allowed to work between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. on a school day — and, the limit is moved to 12:00 a.m. for 17-year-olds.
Breaks for Louisiana minors
All minors employed in Louisiana are entitled to a 30-minute lunch break after working for five consecutive hours.
This time period will be excluded as a part of the working hours.
Prohibited occupations for minors
According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, no employee underthe age of 18 shall be employed or permitted to work in the following conditions and occupations:
- Maintaining, cleaning, and oiling machinery, as well as applying belts to pulleys,
- Manual work involving mining and quarry operations,
- Manufacturing facilities that handle explosive elements,
- Handling woodworking equipment, such as circular saws and table saws, and
- Driving motor vehicles on state roads, with exceptions for 17 and 18-year-olds with special permits.
Penalties for employing minors in Louisiana
Employers could receive penalties or potential jail time in the case of:
- Not following the above-mentioned criteria when employing a minor,
- Not allowing state officials or members of the Workforce Development to enter the premises where minors work, and
- Coercing minor employees to flee the premises in the case of a visit from a state official.
In the case of violating any of the said provisions, the employer can face a penalty of no less than $100 or more than $500.
If a more serious offense has occurred in relation to the rights of minor employees, the employer can face no less than 30 days and no more than 6 months of jail time.
Finally, the employer can also be liable for civil penalties that cannot exceed more than $500 for each specific offense.
Hiring laws in Louisiana
When it comes to hiring new employees, the state of Louisiana has specific laws and practices that are generally considered to be unlawful.
In essence, Louisiana state hiring laws can be divided into two categories: discrimination laws and general employer obligations.
Discrimination hiring laws in Louisiana
Discrimination hiring laws cover a variety of areas, with the most prominent being laws that go against:
- Refusing to hire an individual based on age — older than 40 years (according to The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967),
- Refusing to hire an individual based on race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, pregnancy, genetic information, etc.,
- Keeping or disclosing information regarding employee disability,
- Discriminating against people with a handicap or perceived handicaps, and
- Refusing to hire an individual based on their political perspective and affiliation.
General employer obligations in Louisiana
When it comes to employer obligations, there are certain policies that employers are obligated to follow and abide by in the process of hiring and general employment laws that are not covered by discrimination policies.
Such laws include the obligation to:
- Post notices regarding labor laws that are designated by the Louisiana Workforce Commission in a highly visible area inside the working premises,
- Provide coverage of employee group health if the institution in question has less than 20 employees, according to Louisiana Group Health Insurance Continuation Act,
- Provide health coverage for surviving spouses that are 50 years old or older, and
- Cover the charges of medical examinations, fingerprinting, or other medical tests that are considered to be a condition for employment.
“Right to work” law in Louisiana
The “right to work” states in the US are described as states where employees are free to associate (or not associate) themselves with labor organizations and unions without any fear of retaliation, fear, reprisal, or penalties from the government or their employers.
For example, no organization or employer is allowed to:
- In any way, force an employee to remain or become a member of the union,
- Manufacture contracts with one another in order to influence employee memberships,
- Deny employment to any agricultural laborers due to their affiliation with labor unions, and
- Force employees to break any provisions of the National Right to Work Laws.
In case the employer or the employing organization breaks any of the provisions, they are considered to be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to penalties up to $1000 or imprisonment of up to 90 days.
Termination laws in Louisiana
Similar to many US states, Louisiana practices “employment at-will”, which states that an employer can terminate an employee's contract of employment at any time — provided that the reason for termination does not violate labor laws in terms of discrimination and/or follows other forms of unlawful practices.
Moreover, the employer cannot terminate a contract of employment in two cases:
- If the employee's time at the company is specified in the contract.
- If the employee is a union member with a collective-bargaining agreement.
Federal and Louisiana state laws also have certain exceptions to employment at-will which are closely related to retaliation, in which case the employee cannot be fired.
Such exceptions may arise from:
- Their affiliation with a union and participation in union activities,
- Filing claims for compensations,
- Filing claims regarding environmental violations,
- Taking time off for jury duty, and
- Exercising statutory rights.
What if you are an employee who has been wrongfully terminated?
In the case of wrongful termination, you can contact a lawyer and have your case submitted to the court. If wrongful termination has been established, you are eligible to gain back losses from your last paycheck, lawyer fees, and front and back pay.
In some cases, you can claim compensatory damages for mental pain and anguish resulting from the behavior and consequences that resulted from your termination.
Final paycheck in Louisiana
Louisiana laws state that the employer is obligated to pay the final paycheck, with the exception of deductions for the equipment the employee had kept after the termination of employment.
As far as the date goes, the employers are obligated to pay the final wages by the next scheduled payday or within 14 days after the termination of employment, regardless of the way the employee was let go — termination, resignation, or due to a labor dispute.
Health insurance continuation in Louisiana (COBRA)
The federal law regarding the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) states that workers have the right to continue their group health benefits in the case of both voluntary and involuntary job loss for the next 18 to 36 months.
However, this law applies to businesses that employ at least 20 workers — which is why a lot of states, including Louisiana, have incorporated mini-COBRAs.
Mini-COBRAs cover health costs for businesses with less than 20 employees.
There are exceptions to the rule regarding employees who are not eligible to continue their health plans. Such cases include:
- Employees whose health plans can be covered by a different organization, business, or health center,
- Employees who were let go due to fraud, and
- Employees that paid no contribution for the insurance.
To become eligible for mini-COBRA health plans, you'd have to have worked for at least 3 months before the termination of the contract.
Occupational safety in Louisiana
All US states institute the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, which is administered by OSHA — Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA ensures that all workers will operate and work at hazard-free facilities and conditions. But, it also serves to prevent any work-related injuries due to poor health standards.
Some states even have federally-approved laws that work hand-in-hand with the state laws — but that is not the case with Louisiana, which solely complies with federal standards.
According to OSHA, there are six salient types of hazards in the workplace:
- Work organization
Miscellaneous Louisiana labor laws
Since there are some labor laws that don't belong to any of the subcategories that we've mentioned above, we placed them in the miscellaneous section.
Some of these laws that might interest you are:
- Whistleblower laws,
- Recordkeeping laws,
- Background check laws, and
- Social media laws.
Louisiana whistleblower laws
In layman's terms, “blowing the whistle” signifies reporting information that might lead to the incrimination of individuals that have committed violations of any provision of law.
In the US, almost all states have whistleblower laws that protect employees from retribution by their employers in case of “blowing the whistle”.
The Louisiana whistleblower law, enforced by the Louisiana Board of Ethics, protects public-sector employees from a broad range of whistleblowing acts. But, the statute that protects both public and private-sector employees is closely related to environmental law violations inside the working premises — e.g., the laws that forbid littering the common working area.
Public employees that are wrongfully terminated or suspended shall be reinstated and compensated for the lack of payment that they were entitled to — this also refers to public employees contracted by the government and government agencies.
In case of violating the law, individuals can be:
- Removed from their position,
- Suspended, and
- Fined up to $10,000 in penalties.
According to the Louisiana law, records regarding employment and other personnel records should be kept for a certain period of time during employment and after the termination of the contract.
Such records include:
- Selection, hiring, and employment records — 1 year after creating the contracts (2 years for federal agencies and contractors)
- Payroll records and timesheets — 3 years (no obligation, but it is advised to keep them for legal purposes)
- I-9 forms — 3 years after the initial hiring date
- Employment benefits — 6 years after the termination of employment
- Tax records — 4 years from the date the tax is paid
- Safety data — 5 years following the year records pertain to
- FMLA records — 3 years after the termination of employment
- Polygraph test records — 3 years after doing doing the test
- Affirmative action data — 2 years after the termination of employment
- Drug test records — 1 year after doing the test
Background check laws
When it comes to background information, employers should primarily follow the guidelines set forth in the Fair Credit Reporting Act that protects employees' information from being used by credit bureaus, medical information companies, and tenant screening services.
Secondly, performing background checks is not obligatory, with exceptions for a certain type of employees, including:
- Insurance business personnel,
- In-home childcare providers,
- Non-licensed nurses,
- Supportive assistance workers, and
- Ambulance personnel.
Social media laws
An employer cannot request personal information from employees regarding their social media accounts, such as:
- Passwords, and
- Authentication information.
Moreover, employers are not allowed to penalize employees who refuse to provide the above-listed information, as that would be in violation of the Personal Online Account Privacy Protection Act.
We hope this Louisiana 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 Q2 2022, so any changes in the labor laws that were included later than that may not be included in this Louisiana 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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