Louisiana Wage and Hour Law
Dolley Law lawyers have extensive knowledge and experience in the field of wage and hour law. We have represented clients throughout virtually all regions of the United States, including the South. Contact us if you are seeking legal guidance or representation in connection with a wage and hour matter.
Louisiana does not have state laws regarding overtime pay, so the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) serves as the applicable law for employers in Louisiana. See 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1). Under the FLSA, employers must pay non-exempt employees at a rate of one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Id. Exemptions to this rule include employees engaged in certain administrative, professional, or executive capacities, as well as outside salesmen. See 29 U.S.C. § 213(a)(1).
Louisiana Minimum Wage
Louisiana also does not have a law setting its own minimum wage, so the FLSA is again the law that Louisiana employers should follow in paying employees minimum wages. See 29 U.S.C. § 206(a)(1)(C). Currently, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Id.
Louisiana has a law that specifically prohibits any local governments from setting any different minimum wage. See LSA-R.S. 23:642.
Despite not having either a minimum wage or overtime law, Louisiana does have a wage payment statute. See LSA-R.S. 23:631, et seq. Louisiana requires employers to inform their employees regarding when and how their wages will be paid. See LSA-R.S. 23:633. It further provides: “any employer that fails to designate paydays must pay his employees on the first and sixteenth days of the month or as near as is practicable to those days.” Id. An employer who violates these rules “shall be fined not less than twenty-five dollars nor more than two hundred fifty dollars for each day’s violation.” Id. A second violation could involve imprisonment of not less than ten days. Id.
Louisiana also requires, upon the end of an employee’s employment, employers to pay the employee on the next regular payday, or no later than fifteen days following the end of employment, whichever occurs first. See LSA-R.S. 23:631. Under this law, vacation pay may be part of unpaid “wages” under certain circumstances. Id. Further, at least one Louisiana court has held that this wage payment law authorizes employees to claim and recover unpaid overtime wages (in addition to regular wages) so long as the employee was not engaged in interstate commerce. See, e.g., Kidder v. Statewide Transport, Inc., 2013-594 (La. App. 3 Cir. 12/18/13), 129 So.3d 875, 881.
If there is a dispute about wages owed at the end of employment, an employee has the “right to file an action to enforce such a wage claim and proceed pursuant to” Louisiana law on summary proceedings. See LSA-R.S. 23:631. In terms of venue, “employees may sue their employers or hirers for any wages or salary due and owing in the district court of the parish where the work was performed.” See LSA-R.S. 23:639.
If an employee shows the employer failed to pay wages owed at the end of employment, the employer “shall be liable to the employee either for ninety days wages at the employee’s daily rate of pay, or else for full wages from the time the employee’s demand for payment is made until the employer shall pay or tender the amount of unpaid wages due to such employee, whichever is the lesser amount of penalty wages.” See LSA-R.S. 23:632. However, if a court finds the employer failed to pay the wages in good faith, the employer is only liable for the unpaid wage amount and judicial interest—not this additional wage penalty. Id.
Reasonable attorney fees must also be awarded by the court to an employee who prevails in recovering unpaid wages, but only “in the event a well-founded suit for any unpaid wages whatsoever be filed by the laborer or employee after three days shall have elapsed from time of making the first demand following discharge or resignation.” Id. At least one Louisiana court has concluded that a suit can be “well-founded” even where an employer proves good faith in failing to pay the wages owed. See, e.g., Cochran v. American Advantage Mortgage Co., Inc., 93-1480 (La. App. 1 Cir. 6/24/94), 638 So.2d 1235, 1240.
It is important to fully understand your legal rights and obligations under applicable wage and hour laws. If you are in or around East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Orleans, St. Tammany, Lafayette, Caddo, or Calcasieu parishes, please feel free to contact our attorneys directly at 314-645-4100 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to potential legal representation.