Almost every morning outside home improvement stores and construction staging sights, day laborers wait for work. These workers contribute primarily to construction and landscaping projects in the country and are a primary source of inexpensive unskilled labor for contractors.
As with all American workers, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protects day laborers. This law guarantees these laborers the rights and wages due to all American workers.
Protections under the FLSA
Day laborers are typically sought after by contractors looking to minimize costs and commitments. These people work jobs as they come and enjoy no guarantees that they will find work every day. Day laborers are not unionized, and many are undocumented, often opening them up to exploitation. Employers, contractors and project-minded homeowners can follow these guidelines to ensure they are treating their day laborers properly:
- Employment laws protect day laborers: The FLSA provides day laborers enjoy the same legal protections as all American workers, regardless of their immigration status. These rights include the right to organize, to be free from discrimination, to be safe on the job, and to remain silent.
- All workers are due pay: The law prohibits employers from knowingly hiring individuals not authorized to work in the U.S., but the law also requires that employers pay their employees, authorized or not, for all hours worked, including overtime.
- Only authorized deductions: Employers may make certain authorized deductions from day laborer paychecks, as long as those deductions are voluntary on behalf of the employee and do not drop the worker’s pay below minimum wage.
- Employers are responsible for injuries on the job: Employers of day laborers are responsible for covering any medical expenses incurred due to an injury on the job. Even employers who do not pay into the Workers’ Compensation system must provide coverage.
Protections for workers and employers
These legal protections help employers treat their workers with all due respect and care. Employers who make sure to provide these protections for day laborers will stay on the right side of the law and foster healthy relationships with workers encouraged by supportive working environments. Those with more questions regarding the legality of hiring day laborers have found answers by reaching out to a local lawyer familiar with employment law.