Idaho Wage and Hour Laws
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What are “Hours Worked” in Idaho?
Drawing on a policy statement from 1947, Idaho has its own unique law regarding what time spent by employees constitutes “hours worked” for purposes of any lawsuits filed about unpaid wages. See Idaho Code Ann. §§ 44-1201, 44-1202. This law is known as the Idaho Hours Worked Act and it spells out a number of exceptions to what must be counted as “hours worked.” As a result of this law, Idaho’s definition of “hours worked” is arguably far more limited than the definition of “hours worked” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). See 29 C.F.R. §§ 778.233, 778.318.
Idaho Minimum Wage
Idaho has its own minimum wage law; however, the law is specifically written so that the state minimum wage rate in Idaho will conform with, and track, the federal minimum wage rate, which is currently $7.25 per hour. See Idaho Code Ann. § 44-1502(a); 29 U.S.C. § 206. However, Idaho’s minimum wage rate for tipped employees is higher than the federal minimum; currently, Idaho state law provides that tipped employees must receive an hourly wage of at least $3.35 before counting tips, whereas federal law only mandates $2.13 per hour. Id.
Idaho does not have its own overtime law, so residents and companies in Idaho should look to the FLSA for guidance on its wage and hour rights and obligations. See 29 U.S.C. § 207.
Chapter 17 of Title 44 of Idaho’s statutory code sets forth several provisions that affirm a prohibition of sex discrimination with respect to employee wages. See Idaho Code Ann. § 44-1701, et seq. This prohibition is similar to the FLSA’s prohibition against sex discrimination, but not necessarily identical. See 29 U.S.C. § 206(d).
Unpaid wage claims may be brought administratively or through the civil court system. See Idaho Code Ann. § 45-615(a). If an employee prevails in bringing an unpaid claim to court, he or she may be entitled to recover the greater of the following: the unpaid wages plus statutory penalties or an amount equal to three-times the unpaid wages. Idaho Code Ann. § 45-615(b). A prevailing employee may also recover his or her reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs. Id. A two-year statute of limitations generally applies to unpaid minimum wage claims. Idaho Code Ann. § 44-1508(2). However, there is some indication in Idaho law that the applicable statute of limitations on an unpaid wage claim can be shorter under certain circumstances. See Idaho Code Ann. § 45-614.
If you are in or around Boise City, Meridian, Nampa, Idaho Falls, Caldwell, Pocatello, Coeur d’Alene or Twin Falls, and wish to learn more about how federal and state wage and hour laws work or discuss the services that our Firm may be able to provide to you, please contact our Firm at (314) 645-4100 or at [email protected]