Alabama Labor Laws

March 13th 2024

This article covers:

What are Alabama Time Management Laws?

In the US, there are federal laws in place to manage the time spent by employees in the workplace, safeguarding their rights and guaranteeing fair pay for their efforts. These laws act as directives for employers, keeping them in check, and minimizing any forms of abuse or exploitation.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which dates back to 1938, is a critical federal law for time management, setting hourly wage rates and overtime pay, and requiring employers to keep an accurate record of their employees’ working hours. Overtime is pegged at 1.5 times the regular hourly rate for workers who exceed 40 hours a week. However, certain job categories, including executives, professionals, and administrative employees, are exempt from overtime pay depending on their job description and salary.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is another essential federal law that governs time management in the workplace, entitling eligible employees to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for specific family and medical reasons, such as the birth or adoption of a child or caring for a family member with a serious health condition. This act also requires employers to maintain employees’ health benefits during their leave and restore them to their previous or equivalent positions upon their return to work.

Employers who contravene federal time management laws face severe legal ramifications, including fines, back pay, and damages. If workers feel that their employer has violated federal time management laws, they can file complaints with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division for investigation and legal action.

Overall, federal time management laws are instrumental in ensuring that workers are compensated fairly for their time and effort in the workplace, protecting them from abuse and exploitation by employers. The Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act are vital federal laws that govern time management and worker compensation, ensuring fair labor practices across various sectors, including non-profit, public, and private organizations.

Alabama Minimum Wage $7.25
Alabama Overtime 1.5 times the regular wage for any time worked over 40 hours/week
($10.88 for minimum wage workers)
Alabama Breaks Breaks not required by law

What are the Hiring, Working & Termination Laws in Alabama?

As an employer in Alabama, it’s important to be aware of the general provisions regarding hiring practices. These provisions are in place to prevent discrimination and other prohibited employment practices. Under the Alabama Age Discrimination in Employment Act, discrimination against individuals who are 40 years or older during the hiring, compensation, training, licensing, and similar processes is illegal. This act protects older individuals from age-based discrimination in the workplace. In addition, employers are allowed to have a “voluntary veterans’ preference” when hiring, giving veterans an advantage over other applicants. This preference is voluntary for employers and serves as a way to support and recognize the contributions of veterans.

For job applicants who have been charged with a misdemeanor criminal offense, traffic violation, or municipal ordinance violation, there is a possibility of record expungement. Expungement may be granted if the charge is dismissed with prejudice, has not been billed by a grand jury, the person can prove their innocence, and the charge was dismissed without prejudice more than two years ago and the person has not been convicted of any other felonies during the previous two years. Once the record has been expunged, the job applicant is no longer required to disclose any information about the charge or its expungement during the job application process.

Finally, individuals with disabilities or visual impairments in Alabama have equal opportunities for employment in public services, such as public schools and political subdivisions of the state. However, this only applies if their disability does not prevent them from performing the job. By understanding these laws and provisions, employers in Alabama can ensure a fair and inclusive hiring process for all applicants.

Alabama has been a “right-to-work” state since 1953, allowing employees to freely decide whether or not to join a labor union. It is prohibited for any individual or organization to impose union membership or affiliation as a condition of employment. Additionally, no one is allowed to use force or violence, collect fees or money, or restrict an individual’s work, strike, or speech rights. Municipal and state firefighters are entitled to participate in labor organizations, but they cannot strike against the state or municipality or be part of an organization that advocates striking. Violation of these provisions may result in a fine of up to $1,000 for each offense or a prison sentence of up to 12 months. The state of Alabama ensures that employees are protected in their workplace choice.

In most US states, including Alabama, there is no requirement for a specific cause for terminating an employee. This is known as the “at-will doctrine,” meaning employees can be terminated at any time and for any reason. However, this does not give employers the right to terminate an employee based on race, age, ethnicity, or other prohibited grounds. Wrongful termination occurs when an employee is fired for one of these prohibited reasons. In this case, the employee has the right to sue the employer and seek compensation. On the other hand, employees have the right to resign from their job at any time and for any reason without incurring any losses, damages, penalties, or other consequences. Both employers and employees in Alabama need to understand these laws and provisions regarding termination in the workplace. This helps ensure a fair and equitable process for all parties involved.

Alabama does not have a state law dictating specific rules for an employee’s final paycheck. Therefore, under federal law, employers are not required to give the final paycheck immediatelyHowever, this rule does not apply to sales representatives in Alabama. Employers are required to pay out any commissions to a sales representative within 30 days of the termination, resignation, or expiration of a contract. Other concerns, such as unused paid leave or other benefits, are subject to agreement between the employer and employee. If you have any questions or concerns about final paycheck regulations in Alabama, you can reach out to the Alabama Department of Labor for assistance or additional information.  

What Are the Key Labor Laws in Alabama?

Now, we will discuss some key labor laws in Alabama that may not be related to the categories we have previously explored. Some of these regulations include:

  • COBRA Law – In Alabama, no state law ensures the continuation of health insurance benefits for full-time employees after termination of employment. This is where the federal COBRA law steps in to assist. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) offers protection to full-time employees who have lost their jobs, either voluntarily or involuntarily, due to death, the transition between jobs, and similar reasons. These employees can continue to receive their health insurance coverage for an additional 18 to 36 months, depending on the situation. It is important to note that this coverage only applies to businesses with 20 or more employees. In case of any questions or concerns, reach out to the appropriate authorities for more information.
  • OSHA Law – In Alabama, private sector employees are protected by federal workplace safety regulations administered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Employers are required to provide a safe working environment, free from hazards that could cause serious harm or death. To enforce these regulations, authorities can conduct inspections during regular business hours and assess the working conditions, machines, and equipment. Employees who feel that safety regulations have been violated may file a complaint with the authorities, and are protected from any form of retaliation. If an employer is found to violate these regulations, they may be subject to a civil penalty of up to $70,000 per violation. OSHA recognizes the following hazards in the workplace: biological hazards such as mold and pests, chemical and dust hazards such as pesticides and asbestos, work organization hazards such as stress, safety hazards like slips and falls, physical hazards including noise and temperature extremes, and ergonomic hazards related to repetitive motions and awkward postures.
  • Whistleblower Laws – In Alabama, both public and private employees who bring forward information about illegal activities are supported and shielded by state law. This means employers cannot terminate an employee for reporting fraudulent behavior within an organization. The code explicitly states that employees cannot be fired for taking action to recover benefits or for filing a notice of a safety rule violation. Moreover, it is illegal to threaten, harass, or discriminate against an individual who acts as a whistleblower and reports wrongdoing within an institution. The law prohibits discrimination against those who disclose information, make charges, refuse to obey illegal orders, and more. State employees are also protected from discharge, transfer, or discrimination if they report a violation of the law. However, Alabama doesn’t have a state False Claim Act. In this case, a whistleblower can file a federal False Claim Act instead. The federal False Claim Act holds individuals and organizations accountable for making false records or fraudulent billings to the government. Additionally, it motivates employees to file “qui tam” lawsuits as private citizens with solid evidence against those who conspire to commit offenses against the government. Whistleblowers who report fraudulent activities against the US government may even receive a reward as an incentive. Alabama’s whistleblower laws provide a crucial safeguard for employees who report illegal conduct and protect them from retaliation. This reinforces the importance of holding organizations accountable for their actions and maintaining transparency in the workplace.
  • Recordkeeping Laws – Employers bear the responsibility of maintaining specific records, books, and accounts for their service contract holders, otherwise known as employees. As a result, service contracts must encompass the following information: copies of each employee’s contract, personal details such as the name and address of each service provider holder, a list of the places where service contracts are marketed, sold or offered for sale, documented claims files. The employer must keep all records on file for at least three years following the termination or expiration date of the contract. This requirement emphasizes the importance of accurate and organized record-keeping for the protection and benefit of both the employer and the employees.

What are Alabama Payment Laws?

The state of Alabama has limited state regulations regarding wages. As a result, they must follow the federal regulations set forth by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The regulations in Alabama include the state minimum wage, an hourly wage for those receiving tips, and a minimum wage for minors.

What is the Minimum Payment in Alabama?

In 2024, the minimum wage in Alabama is set at $7.25 per hour, as specified by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Alabama does not have its own state law regarding minimum wageFederal law in Alabama permits employers to pay a reduced minimum wage of $4.25 per hour to employees who are under 20 years old for the first 90 days of their employment. This lower minimum wage applies for a limited time after the employee starts work.

Full-time students working in retail, agriculture, or colleges and universities, on the other hand, are entitled to 85% of the standard minimum wage. Before hiring a full-time student, the employer must first obtain a certificate. These students are limited to working a maximum of 20 hours per week during school hours and 40 hours per week when school is not in session. 

According to FLSA, a tipped employee is defined as “any employee who regularly receives over $30 per month in tips while performing an occupation.” In Alabama, the minimum wage for tipped employees is set at $2.13 per hour, but their overall earnings per hour must equal the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. An employer may pay a lower hourly wage, as long as it does not fall below $2.13, if the employee’s total earnings with tips exceed the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. This is referred to as a tip credit, and an employer can take a credit of no more than $5.12 per hour from the employee. The employer is obligated to supplement the employee’s income if their earnings from tips do not meet the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. This ensures that the employee’s total compensation reaches the minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour.  

What are the Exceptions for Minimum Payment in Alabama?

According to FLSA, a tipped employee is defined as “any employee who regularly receives over $30 per month in tips while performing an occupation.” In Alabama, the minimum wage for tipped employees is set at $2.13 per hour, but their overall earnings per hour must equal the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. An employer may pay a lower hourly wage, as long as it does not fall below $2.13, if the employee’s total earnings with tips exceed the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. This is referred to as a tip credit, and an employer can take a credit of no more than $5.12 per hour from the employee. The employer is obligated to supplement the employee’s income if their earnings from tips do not meet the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. This ensures that the employee’s total compensation reaches the minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour.

What is the Payment Due Date in Alabama?

In the State of Alabama, the definition of payday regulations is absent. However, standard pay frequency options exist across the United States, including:

  • Weekly: 52 paychecks per year, paid once a week
  • Biweekly: 26 paychecks per year, paid every other week
  • Semi-monthly: 24 paychecks per year, paid twice a month
  • Monthly: 12 paychecks per year, paid once a month

These options provide employees with a respective number of paychecks per year. Interestingly, public service transportation corporations in Alabama with a workforce of 50 or more are mandated by law to issue biweekly paychecks to their employees.

Why not use Jibble’s time-tracking software to comply with Alabama labor laws?  

What are Alabama Overtime Laws?

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employees in Alabama who work over 40 hours per week are entitled to receive overtime pay. This compensation equates to 1.5 times the employee’s regular hourly rate and must be disbursed on the next regular payday. Employers must abide by the FLSA’s guidelines for overtime pay, which are calculated on a workweek basis. Under the FLSA, employers are not obliged to provide overtime compensation for work done during weekends, holidays, or designated days off. However, if both employer and employee have agreed to work extra hours on these days, the employer must pay for the additional time. The FLSA also allows employees above the age of 16 to work unlimited overtime hours.  

What are Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in Alabama?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), effective January 1, 2020, employees earning less than $35,568 annually are classified as nonexempt and are entitled to overtime pay. However, certain employees are exempt from this rule and do not qualify for overtime pay. These include:

  • Highly compensated employees earning over $107,432 per year
  • Executive, Administrative, Learned and Creative Professional workers receiving a salary of at least $684 per week
  • Computer employees working on a salary basis with a weekly pay of no less than $684
  • Outside sales employees

It is important to note that “blue-collar” workers, including police officers, firefighters, paramedics, rescue workers, and similar community workers, are not exempt from the overtime rule. Additionally, employees working varying schedules, also known as the Fluctuating Workweek Method (FWW), are also not exempt from these overtime regulations. The DOL’s overtime rule serves as a valuable guideline for determining the eligibility of employees for overtime pay. By understanding the exemptions, employees can better understand their rights and ensure they receive the fair compensation they deserve. As of May 20, 2020, salaried employees who experience fluctuating working hours are entitled to receive overtime pay. This unique work schedule is commonly referred to as the “fluctuating workweek” (FWW)For example, consider a salaried, non-exempt employee who earns $900 per week, regardless of whether they work 40 hours or less in a week, such as 35 hours. The fluctuating workweek provides an opportunity for salaried employees to receive overtime pay for hours worked beyond a standard 40-hour workweek. By understanding the criteria and eligibility for the FWW method, employees can ensure they receive fair and adequate compensation for their work. If this employee works over 40 hours in a given week, they are eligible to receive an overtime premium equal to one-half (0.5) times their hourly rate for each overtime hour worked. To be eligible for the FWW method, employees must meet the following criteria:

  • Have hours that vary from week to week
  • Receive a fixed salary, regardless of the number of hours worked each week
  • Earn an hourly rate equal to or above the federal (or state) minimum wage
  • Have a clear understanding of the terms and conditions of their work agreement
  • In addition to the FWW, eligible employees are also entitled to additional pay or benefits, such as bonuses, commissions, and hazard pay.

Learn more in detail about Alabama Salaried Employees Laws and Alabama Overtime Laws.

What are Alabama Time Off/Break Laws?

In Alabama, there are no state laws mandating break and meal periods. Instead, the state follows the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA does not require employers to provide lunch or coffee breaks during working hours, and it is up to the employer and employee to negotiate break times and arrangements. Both employees and employers need to understand their rights and responsibilities regarding breaks and meal periods. 

What are the Exceptions to Break Law in Alabama?

Employers have the flexibility to offer additional benefits such as paid breaks or flexible work arrangements, while employees have the right to negotiate break times that work for them. In Alabama, this lack of state laws provides an opportunity for open communication and collaboration between employers and employees. In Alabama, short breaks (5-20 minutes) are considered compensable work hours and must be compensated by the employer. However, bona fide meal breaks that last at least 30 minutes are considered non-compensable rest periods. It becomes compensable if an employee is required to work during a meal break.

What are Alabama Breastfeeding Laws?

Alabama doesn’t have a specific law on breastfeeding support in the workplace, so federal law applies. Employers must provide a reasonable break and a separate room (not a bathroom) for employees to express breast milk. Breaks for pumping milk are entitled to employees for one year after the child’s birth. Unless an employee uses her compensable break for pumping milk, the breastfeeding break time is not compensable.

What are Alabama Leave Laws?

Alabama provides two types of leave:  Required & Non-Required. Federal and state regulations for required leave overlap, but regulations for private and public employees may differ in certain cases.  

What is Alabama Required Leave?

In Alabama, public employees are entitled to holiday leave and compensatory leave when state offices are closed on federal and state holidays. 

  • Holiday Leave (Public Employees) – In Alabama, public sector employees are entitled to time off on federal and state holidays. If these holidays fall on a workday, employees receive compensatory leave or, if unable to use the leave, are compensated at their normal pay rate. This ensures that state offices are closed on official holidays, promoting work-life balance for those serving the public.
  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides covered employees with up to 12 work weeks of unpaid absence for birth, serious illness, and care of a family member. However, to be eligible, employees must have worked at least 12 months and 1,250 consecutive hours of work.
  • Voting Leave – All employers are mandated to provide registered employees with up to one hour of unpaid leave to cast their votes. However, if the polls open two hours before an employee’s shift or one hour after their shift ends, the employer may opt not to give the time off or specify the hours when the worker can take the leave.
  • Jury Leave – Employers are legally obliged to grant paid time off to employees who have been summoned for jury duty.
  • Disaster Response Leave for American Red Cross Volunteers – Certified Disaster Services Volunteers of the American Red Cross are entitled to take time off for emergency response, up to 15 workdays in 12 months, without any loss of pay, overtime, vacation, or sick time. This policy supports volunteer efforts during natural disasters and other emergencies and demonstrates the organization’s commitment to volunteerism. By allowing volunteers to respond to emergencies without sacrificing their job security, the American Red Cross is empowering individuals to make a difference in their communities. This disaster response leave policy is a testament to the organization’s dedication to helping those in need and providing crucial support during times of crisis.
  • Military Leave – Workers (in both private and public sectors) are eligible to receive military leave while retaining their regular pay, holiday leave, and sick leave.

What is Alabama Non-Required Leave?

Alabama, like many other states, does not have a legal requirement for employers to provide time off for vacation, sick leave, or holidays.

  • Sick Leave – The rules regarding sick leave are similar to those of vacation leave. Employers are not obligated to offer sick leave benefits, whether paid or unpaid, to their employees.
  • Vacation Leave – The US is famously referred to as a “no-vacation nation.” The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) states that employers do not have to pay for time not worked, which includes vacation leave, sick leave, and holidays. Whether an employee has the right to a paid leave, including vacation, is determined by mutual agreement between the employer and employee. If a paid vacation leave is promised, it must be granted in accordance with the terms specified in the employment contract.
  • Bereavement Leave – In Alabama, employers are not required to offer bereavement leave to employees. However, this rule does not apply to individuals under the state Merit System, legislative personnel, officers, or Legislative Reference Service personnel, who are eligible for up to three days of paid bereavement leave.
  • Holiday Leave (Private Employers) – Private employers are not mandated to offer holiday leave to employees, either paid or unpaid. Furthermore, they are not obligated to pay employees any additional wages if they work on holidays.

Here is a table of official US holidays:

Holiday Date
New Year’s Day 1 January
Martin Luther King Jr. Day Third Monday in January
Presidents’ Day Third Monday in February
Memorial Day Last Monday in May
Independence Day 4 July
Labor Day First Monday in September
Columbus Day Second Monday in October
Veterans Day 11 November
Thanksgiving Day Fourth Thursday in November
Day after Thanksgiving Fourth Friday in November
Christmas Day 25 December

What are Alabama Child Labor Laws?

Child labor laws in Alabama differ from federal child labor laws. Employers who wish to employ individuals under 18 years old must obtain and display the appropriate Child Labor Certificate at their place of work. For minors aged 16, 17, and 18, a Class II Certificate is needed, while minors aged 14 and 15 require a Class I Certificate, which must be obtained and renewed annually.

Additionally, minors aged 14 and 15 must obtain an Eligibility to Work form from their school, which the employer must keep on file. Click here to apply for or renew a Child Labor Certificate

What are the Laws on Working Hours for Minors in Alabama?

If an employer plans to hire minors, they must abide by certain restrictions on work hours.

Age School in Session Non-School Days Maximum Workdays per Week Total Hours per Week Work Hours Restrictions
14-15 Up to 3 hours per school day Up to 8 hours Up to 6 days Up to 18 hours No work before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. on any day of the week. No work during school hours (8 a.m. to 3 p.m.).
14-15 N/A Up to 8 hours Up to 6 days Up to 40 hours No work before 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m. each day.
16-18 No work before 5 a.m. or after 10 p.m. on a school day or the night preceding a school day N/A N/A No-hour restrictions apply during this time. N/A

What are the Banned Jobs for Minors in Alabama?

Alabama’s Child Labor Law prohibits minors from working in hazardous occupations. These hazardous occupations are divided into two categories:

  • Jobs that are prohibited for minors under 16 include operating sandpaper or wood polishing machinery, picking wool or cotton, and manufacturing paints and colors.
  • Jobs that are prohibited for minors under 18 include wrecking, ship breaking, operating machinery over three tons in weight, and manufacturing alcoholic beverages.

It’s worth noting that these restrictions don’t apply to minors aged 16 or 17 who participate in work-study, cooperative education, or similar programs where employment is an integral part of the course of study and is registered by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training or to employment arranged and supervised by the Alabama Department of Education and approved by the Department of Labor. Additionally, minors whose parents own the business are not exempt from Alabama’s Child Labor Law.

Minors aged 15 and 16 who work continuously for 5 hours are entitled to a documented 30-minute break. No breaks are required for minors over 16 under Alabama’s Child Labor Law.

Minors under the age of 21 are not permitted to handle or serve alcoholic drinks in establishments that sell, serve, or dispense these beverages. However, minors aged 14 or 15 who are related to the owners or operators of such establishments may be employed, but they are prohibited from serving, selling, or dispensing alcoholic beverages. On the other hand, minors aged 16 and above can work as busboys, dishwashers, janitors, cooks, hostesses, or seaters in these establishments.

The Alabama Department of Labor has the authority to conduct unannounced inspections of businesses employing minors to ensure compliance with state laws. An employer found to violate child labor laws may face penalties ranging from $300 to $5,000, depending on the severity of the violation. The employer has the right to request a hearing with the presence of an attorney within 30 days of receiving the notice of the violation.

Employers who hire minors under the age of 19 are required to keep and display the following documentation in a visible location on their premises:

  • Time Records: a posted notice indicating the maximum number of hours that a minor is allowed to work each day during a workweek, including break times, and starting and ending times.
  • Employee Information Form: detailing the employee’s personal information, date of hire, and school of attendance.
  • Child Labor Certificate: either Class I or Class II, as applicable.
  • Proof of Age: a copy of the minor’s birth certificate, driver’s license, or ID card.

Important Cautionary Note

This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.