Indiana Labor Laws: Everything You Need to Know
What do Indiana labor laws look like? In the state of Indiana, most employers choose to offer their employees paid leave, which comes in many forms, including sick days, vacation, holiday, or paid time off (PTO).8 min read
Updated November 5, 2020:
Indiana Labor Laws
What do Indiana labor laws look like? In the state of Indiana, most employers choose to offer their employees paid leave, which comes in many forms, including sick days, vacation, holiday, or paid time off (PTO).
Although some states require their employers to provide employees with paid sick leave, neither Indiana law, or United States law requires employers to participate in this practice. It is purely discretionary.
Employers are, however, required by law to offer unpaid time off in situations like emergencies, such as medical emergencies, family leave, military leave, or jury or civic duties.
Family and Medical Leave
Thanks to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, employers with at least fifty employees are required to give eligible employees as much as twelve weeks’ worth of unpaid time per year to take care of illnesses and other emergencies. Some situations warrant longer periods of unpaid time off.
Employers are obligated to continue benefits while their employee is on FMLA leave.
Employees have the right to be reinstated when their leave is through.
Jury or Witness Duty
Employees are entitled and sometimes obligated to serve jury duty. Employers, therefore, cannot discriminate or terminate their employees for receiving or participating in a summons, jury duty, jury duty voir dire preliminary hearings, attending court, or receiving or responding to subpoenas related to a criminal proceeding.
Employers in the state of Indiana are legally required to allow employees to take time off paid work duties to serve on a jury. Some states also require their employers to provide their employees with time off for voting purposes.
Military Family Leave
Employers who have fifty or more employees are obligated to provide unpaid leave for any eligible spouse, domestic partner, grandparent, or sibling of a person who was ordered to serve in active military duty. The law allows ten days of leave of this type per year.
Employees who utilize military family leave are legally entitled to a process known as “job restoration,” where they are to be reinstated to the position they previously held or hired to a position with the equivalent pay, benefits, seniority, and other criteria.
In addition to that, employers are legally restricted from restraining or denying any employees their rights and protections under the law.
The FMLA also entitles its employees to take leave of their choosing to take care of practical matters that arise from a military deployment.
Employers in the state of Indiana are obligated to provide unpaid leave, up to ten workdays, to eligible employees with a spouse, grandparent, child, sibling, or parent who is required to serve in active military duty exceeding 89 consecutive service days.
Under the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, or USERRA, and Indiana law, employers are required to allow employees to take leave for federal or state military service or active duty.
Employees are legally entitled to be reinstated after their leave. They cannot be discriminated against based on anything, especially their service.
Statewide, employers are also required to give employees in the United States reserves up to 15 days of leave each calendar year for training.
Recruiting and Hiring
On top of military leave for families, Indiana employers are also required to comply with state leave laws, like military leave, civil air patrol (CAP) leave, emergency response leave, jury duty leave, witness leave, and mobile support unit leave.
Key state requirements impacting the recruiting and hiring processes are medical examinations, drug testing, and criminal history as revealed by a criminal background check.
Employers may require job applicants to submit to medical examinations after applicants receive conditional offers of employment.
Employers are permitted to condition an applicant’s employment offer on the results of the examination, but only if all applicants in the same job or job category are knowingly subject to the same requirement.
The medical exam performed as a condition of employment doesn’t need to be job-related, nor does it necessarily have to relate to the nature of the business, unless it serves the effect of screening employees with disabilities.
Employers are permitted to conduct criminal history checks on their job applicants but are encouraged to be aware that state law restricts certain individuals, such as nonviolent offenders, to be able to request a court to order state police to restrict their access to criminal records.
The individual in this situation must be eight years removed from any sentence they have served at the time of application.
Any job applicant who had any access to his or her criminal records disallowed may lawfully declare on an application for employment that they have not been arrested or convicted of any offenses contained in their restricted records.
State law doesn’t prohibit any employers from asking their job applicants whether or not they’ve had their records restricted, or refusing to hire an applicant based on information contained in an applicant’s restricted record, if it comes to the attention of the employer. This could be due to any number of things -- failure of the police to restrict a record, or a third-party background check revealing information outside the terms of the law.
Under state law, many categories of occupations and professions are required to undergo mandatory criminal checks, which sometimes include national and state sex offender status checks. Often, industries pertaining to hazardous materials, child care, home and personal health, child care and service workers, service care professionals, teachers, brokers, real estate professionals, and drug distributors are required to perform these checks.
As a conditional offer of employment, job applicants may be required to submit to mandatory drug testing.
To minimize the exposure to discrimination lawsuits under Indiana and United States law, employers are encouraged to similarly test all applicants for the same line of work, and should only test applicants after making their conditional offers of employment.
Indiana caps the time a minor is allowed to work, though the cap depends on the age of the employee and the industry in which they seek to work. All minors who have six or more consecutive hours scheduled in a workweek are to be given rest breaks, one to two, totaling at least 30 minutes.
Indiana restricts the times a minor under age 18 can work, which vary depending on the employee's age.
All minors who are scheduled to work six or more consecutive hours are entitled to one or two rest breaks totaling at least 30 minutes.
Discrimination and Harassment
Employers are not permitted to discriminate against applicants or employees for any reason. From interview questions and job postings to the final hiring, promotions, assignment of bonuses and time off, discipline, and termination.
State and federal laws both prohibit harassment based on any of these grounds.
Harassment is considered unwelcome comments, conduct, or any behavior on the job based on characteristics such as race or sex, that either the victim must deal with as a condition of their employment, or any behavior that creates a hostile, offensive, or intimidating working environment.
Sexual harassment falls under the same category. This is classified as crude or obscene comments, questions, propositions, touching, etc. It is the most well-known form of harassments, though harassment comes in many forms, and may be based on age, race, religion, and any other number of factors.
Employees may not discipline, or take any malignant action against employees because of complaints that employee filed with the company, or to a government agency, such as OSHA. The same applies to employees who are involved in lawsuits with the company.
State laws in Indiana prohibit pay discrimination of any kind, but particularly and especially based on sex. Employers are permitted to base differences in pay for their employees on other legitimate, nondiscriminatory criteria, such as seniority, merit, or tenure.
Employees who are subject to or protected by a protective order cannot be discriminated against by their employers. The same applies for exercising religious beliefs, lawfully possessing a firearm, or using tobacco products so long as the employee is following state and company guidelines.
State law in Indiana requires employers to adhere to Indiana’s Minimum Wage Law, and they must furnish their employees a statement of all hours worked, wages paid, and deductions itemized in a pay period.
Employees also have the right to work in a safe workplace.
Employers are obligated to legally offer working conditions that are free of known dangers and are required by law to perform appropriate safety training, such as hazardous materials handling.
Should complaints arise, employees have the right to request an OSHA safety inspection.
Should an employee request an OSHA safety inspection, their employer cannot retaliate against, or discriminate against, any employees who point out hazardous or unsafe working conditions to OSHA inspectors.
If an employee becomes injured on the job, that employee will probably be eligible for workers’ compensation.
In Indiana, most employers are legally obligated to have workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance pays a portion of an employee’s typical earnings, necessary medical treatments, and vocational rehab, among other benefits.
State law prohibits any forms of smoking in enclosed areas inside places of employment and any areas within 8 feet of public entrances to those places of employment.
Employers are required to inform their employees of smoking restrictions, as well as remove ashtrays or any other smoking tools or paraphernalia that isn’t specifically available on a retail basis, post signs reading “State Law Prohibits Smoking Within 8 Feet of This Entrance,” or a similarly-worded message, and must also refrain from discriminating or retaliating against those employees or potential employees who exercise their rights under the law.
State law also allows employees to carry firearms or ammunition in their vehicle so long as it is in a locked trunk or glove compartment, or is otherwise out of sight and not a danger to anyone. The car must also be locked in order for the situation to be legal.
Employers are, of course, entitled to prohibit their employees from carrying firearms or ammunition anywhere else on company property.
Employers are generally prohibited from requiring their employees to disclose whether or not they own, possess, use, or transport firearms or ammunition in their vehicles.
When Employment Ends
Under state law, employers are obligated to provide their departing employees with their final pay and wages on the next normally scheduled payday. In Indiana, any unused vacation time must be included in a departing employee’s final paycheck.
- If an employee becomes unemployed and it is no fault of their own, meaning they were not fired or did not voluntarily quit, the employee is eligible and responsible for unemployment benefits.
- Employees and the unemployed must meet certain criteria to become eligible, which includes a minimum earnings requirement.
- Employees are often required to actively look for work to continue receiving benefits.
- If deemed eligible, employees will receive a percentage or portion of their earnings for a period of up to 26 weeks. This is meant to cover the employees in some capacity while they search for new jobs.
- A federal law, named the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA, gives employees rights and protections to keep their health insurance coverage after the end of employment.
- The insurance must pay the full premium, including the portion a previous employer used to pay, and the benefits can continue for 18-36 months. This depends on the situation, and other circumstances, such as the presence of a dependent.
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