Ohio Labor Laws: Everything You Need to Know
Ohio labor laws are designed to protect employees and employers alike.8 min read
Updated October 16,2020:
Ohio Labor Laws
Ohio labor laws are designed to protect employees and employers alike.
Employers are required by law to follow the Fair Labor Standards Act, passed by the U.S. Congress, which designates standards for wages and hours worked. Employers are required to pay the highest minimum wage in their area. This can be the minimum wage set by the federal government, but state and even local law will supersede federal law if the minimum wage is higher in those areas.
Ohio Labor Laws - Minimum Wage
The minimum wage in Ohio is currently set at $8.15 an hour if the employer's gross receipts exceed $299,000 per year. This is higher than the federally mandated minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Minimum wage laws will vary from state to state. If an employer's annual revenue is below the $299,000 threshold, then an employer is legally allowed to adopt the federal standard and pay employees an hourly wage as low as $7.25.
If part of your compensation comes from tips, at your current job then the minimum wage you are paid can be lower than $7.25 per hour by as much as half. This is only the case when you earn enough tips to meet minimum wage amounts and is calculated by adding your hourly minimum wage to the amount of tips that you have earned.
Ohio Labor Laws - Overtime Pay
Laws governing labor in Ohio dictate that an employer pay their employees overtime. Unless there is an exemption, any hourly employee is to be paid 1 1/2 times their normal rate of pay if they exceed 40 hours of work within one workweek.
There are exceptions, however, to state overtime laws in Ohio, and not all employees will qualify to earn it. Salaried managers, for instance, are exempt from overtime protections and since they are not an hourly employee, they are not entitled to overtime protections.
Ohio Labor Laws - Meals and Breaks
Several states demand that employers allow workers to take breaks for meals or to rest. Ohio does not, however, have laws governing breaks and employers are not required to provide breaks to their employees for any reason. Employers can, of their own accord, offer employees breaks to employees as a matter of policy. Many employees realize that offering breaks is a benefit to themselves as well as their employees and that productivity increases when an employee is neither tired nor hungry.
Ohio's revised labor codes bring Ohio in line with other states that require all workers under that age of 18 receive an uninterrupted 30 minute break once they have worked more than five hours. There are no labor laws in Ohio that require lunch breaks for any employee that is over the age of 18. Employers may choose to give their employees a break. If that break exceeds 20 minutes that employer is not required to pay them for the time off. At that time the worker is free to do what he wishes including leaving the work site. While Ohio does not have laws that govern paid breaks federal law does require that an employer must pay for breaks that are shorter than 20 minutes.
There is no federal law that states workers over the age of 18 are entitled to a lunch break. Federal law does, however, say that a lunch break that lasts more than 30 minutes be unpaid. This is not to say that an employer can't pay for a lunch break over 30 minutes, in fact, many do, it is just not required under state or federal law.
Ohio labor law, mirroring federal law, does state that a 30 minute break be uninterrupted. An employer is not allowed to demand that an employee perform work related tasks such as answering the phone while on a break.
One exception does exist that allows an employee to take a break as required by law and that is thanks to the Break Time for Nursing Mothers Act of 2010. This law requires that an employer not only allow a break for new mothers, but they provide a private space, so she may pump breast milk during the workday.
Ohio Labor Laws - Severance Pay
Severance pay for an employee is not a right under Ohio state law and employers are not required to provide it. Employers may choose to provide severance pay, however, if they do so the employer is obligated to stand by the terms of their contract or established policy.
Ohio Labor Laws - Hours Worked
Ohio follows the regulations set forth in the Fair Labor Standards Act, a federal law established by Congress. While Ohio does not specify when or how an employer is to count a worker's hours as time worked regarding overtime and minimum wage, federal law on this issue is well established. Enforcement of the FLSA falls to the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor at the federal level. The WHD requires all employees be paid for the hours that they have worked. These hours include certain times when the employee is not working, and that the employer designates as a break.
Ohio Labor Laws - Workweek
Legal guidance does not exist, in Ohio labor laws, to constitute what a workweek entails. There is no legal definition within Ohio statutes. Ohio, again, follows the standards set up under the Fair Labor Standards Act, well established federal law.
Ohio Labor Laws - Waiting time
Ohio does not have any law specifying or addressing when or how employers should count a worker's hours as paid waiting time. They again follow the federal standard as enforced by the Department of Labor which differentiates between On Duty waiting time, Off Duty waiting time and On Call waiting time. Individual situations will vary, but an employee that is considered On Duty is due their hourly wage where an employee that is considered Off Duty may not be entitled to compensation.
Ohio Labor Laws - On-call time
An on-call employee is one that is required to remain at his employer’s location or on their premises so that he or she cannot use their time effectively. An on-call employee is not immediately granted compensation under the FLSA, and a determination on whether the employee is entitled to pay is decided on a case by case basis.
Ohio Labor Laws - Sleeping time
Also covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act under which Ohio looks for guidance are labor laws pertaining to sleeping time. Employees that work more than 24 hours are entitled by law to be paid for sleep time and meal time unless they have entered into an agreement with their employer stating otherwise. The maximum time an employer can take credit for sleep time is eight hours. If the employer does not allow for restful sleep, that is sleep that lasts for at least five hours, then the employee must be paid for that time.
Ohio Labor Laws - Travel time
While Ohio law does not stipulate what should be considered travel time by an employee Ohio does follow the federal FLSA under the Wages and Hours Division of the Department of Labor.
Ohio Labor Laws - Meeting, lecture, and training time
There are no specific labor laws in Ohio that govern training, time spent in meetings or at lectures. Federal laws under the Fair Labor Standards Act do apply and Ohio looks for guidance from federal regulation on these matters.
Ohio Labor Laws - Show up or reporting time
There is no requirement under Ohio law that an employer is required to pay a worker for reporting to work if no work is performed. An employee may also be dismissed from work before they have completed their entire shift without being required to pay for the hours that were not worked. Only the hours an employee work are required to be paid under Ohio Law.
Ohio Labor Laws - Time off work
There are many employers that will offer an employee paid leave. This can take the form of:
- vacation time
- holiday pay
- sick time
- other paid time off
Though under the law there is no requirement to do so. There are no federal or state laws in Ohio that require any paid time off. Employers are required to extend unpaid work leave for reasons like medical, family, military, and other types of leave. Jury duty and voting leave are also included in unpaid time off requirements under state and federal law.
Ohio Labor Laws - Military leave
Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) an employee may take unpaid leave from work in order to perform his or her state or federal military duty. Once the employee returns, he or she may not be discriminated against and must be reinstated.
Ohio Labor Laws - Family and medical leave
In 1993 Congress passed the Family and Medical Leave act. It is a federal law that states an employer must provide their employees with job protections including unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons. An employee is also entitled to continue his or her medical coverage under an existing plan. You also must be reinstated by your employer when you have returned from your leave. While many states have similar laws, Ohio does not.
Ohio Labor Laws - Military family leave
The Family and Medical Leave Act also allows for an employee to take unpaid leave of up to 26 weeks in the period of one year to care for a family member if they were seriously injured while on military duty. Additionally, Ohio makes accommodations for employees to request up to 10 days of unpaid leave from work if a member of the family is called up to active duty or while on active duty is hospitalized, wounded or otherwise injured.
Ohio Labor Laws - Jury duty
According to the Ohio State Bar Association, jury duty is issued by summons of the court. If you elect not to show up for jury duty, then a warrant will be issued for your arrest. Ohio state law requires an employer to allow a worker time off to complete his or her jury duty. An employer may not force an employee to use vacation time or other paid leave to complete their jury duty. Ohio courts do pay for jury duty, though the amounts are not large. While they vary some courts pay as little as $20 per day for jury duty. At the federal level, you will receive $40 a day, and that amount goes up to $50 if you are on jury duty for more than 10 days.
Ohio Labor Laws - Voting leave
Not all states require that employees be given time off to vote. Though some states require an employee be paid or given a specific amount of hours to vote Ohio merely states that an employee be given “reasonable” time to vote. Employers are required to pay salaried employees if they are given leave to vote however there is no law requiring that an hourly employee be paid when given leave to vote.
Ohio Labor Laws - Vacation and Sick leaves
While employers are not required under Ohio labor law to offer vacation benefits or sick leave to their employees they often do. If an employee leaves a job, the employer is under no obligation to pay him or her any accrued sick time or vacation time that may be owed unless previously stated in a contract.
Ohio Labor Laws - Holiday leave
While employers are not required under Ohio labor law to offer vacation benefits or sick leave to their employees they often do. If an employee leaves a job the employer is under no obligation to pay him or her any accrued sick time or vacation time that may be owed unless previously stated in a contract.
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