Recordkeeping Basics under the FLSA and Illinois Law (Part 1 of 2)

Both the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the Illinois Minimum Wage Law (“IMWL”) require employers, not employees, to keep records of the employee’s hours and pay. In fact, these laws require all covered employers to create and maintain specific payroll records for each and every non-exempt employee. This post will examine how long employers must maintain payroll records and specifically what kinds of records must be kept.

Records to be kept for last 3 years under the FLSA and IMWL

At minimum, both the FLSA and the IMWL require employers to create, keep, and maintain basic payroll records for their non-exempt employees. The records must be kept for at least the last three (3) years and must include the following information for each non-exempt employee:

  • Full Name
  • Home Address
  • Social Security Number
  • Sex and Occupation
  • Time of Day and Day of Week of Beginning of Workweek
  • Regular Rate of Pay
  • Payments Excluded from the “Regular Rate”
  • Basis of Pay (e.g. per hour, day, week, piece, commission, or other basis)
  • Hours Worked Each Day and Hours Worked Each Workweek*
  • Total Straight-Time Earnings
  • Total Overtime Premiums Paid
  • Total Wages Paid Each Pay Period
  • Date of Payment and Pay Period Covered by Payment
  • Additions and Deductions from Wages for Each Pay Period

Importantly, for employees who work a fixed schedule that rarely varies, the FLSA does allow employers to simplify their recordkeeping obligations. In such cases, the employer may keep a record showing the employee’s fixed daily and weekly schedule and simply indicate by check mark or other notation whether such hours were in fact actually worked. Notably, in situations where the worker is on the job more or less than the regularly scheduled time, it does remain the employer's responsibility to record the number of hours actually worked by the employee on that particular occasion.

Records to be kept for last 2 years under the FLSA

In addition to the basic payroll records that must be maintained for three years, the FLSA also requires employers to keep the following supplementary wage and hour records for the last two years:

  • Daily Timesheets or Timecards: Records showing the daily starting and stopping time for individual employees or of the work accomplished by employees if paid on a piece-rate or unit basis.
  • Wage Rate Tables: All wage rate tables or schedules that show the rates of pay used by the employer (including piece-rates, if applicable) in computing straight-time earnings, wages, or salary, or overtime pay computation.
  • Additions or Deductions from Wages: Records of additions to or deductions from wages paid to employees.

More to Come on Recordkeeping —
Contact a Chicago Wage and Hour Attorney Today

In Part 2 of Recordkeeping Basics under the FLSA and Illinois law, we will examine the consequences of an employer's failure to comply with its recordkeeping obligations. In the meantime, more information is available about other federal and state wage and hour requirements. You may also contact our Chicago wage and hour attorneys to answer your questions or to arrange a free consultation.

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