Louisiana Labor Laws

March 14th 2024

This article covers:

What are Louisiana 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.

Louisiana Minimum Wage $7.25
Louisiana Overtime 1.5 times the rate of the standard wage
($10.88 for workers earning minimum wages)
Louisiana Break Laws There are no existing state laws or federal laws that require employers to provide rest or meal breaks for adults
30-minute break after 5 consecutive hours of work for minors

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

Louisiana has specific laws and practices that make certain hiring practices unlawful when seeking new employees. The hiring laws in Louisiana can be divided into two main categories: discrimination laws and general employer obligations.

Discrimination hiring laws in Louisiana cover a wide range of areas and include provisions that prohibit:

  • Age-based refusal of employment (for individuals older than 40 years, in accordance with The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967)
  • Refusal to hire based on race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, pregnancy, genetic information, and other protected characteristics
  • Keeping or disclosing employee disability information
  • Discrimination against individuals with disabilities or those perceived to have disabilities
  • Refusing to hire based on political beliefs or affiliation

In terms of employer obligations, there are specific policies that employers must adhere to during the hiring process and general employment, which are distinct from discrimination policies.

These obligations include the requirement to:

  • Display labor law notices, as designated by the Louisiana Workforce Commission, in a prominent location within the workplace
  • Provide employee group health coverage if the organization has fewer than 20 employees, as outlined by the Louisiana Group Health Insurance Continuation Act
  • Offer health coverage for surviving spouses (of the employees) who are 50 years old or older
  • Bear the costs of medical examinations, fingerprinting, or other medical tests that are necessary for employment purposes

In the United States, “right to work” states refer to those where workers have the freedom to choose whether or not they want to join labor organizations or unions, and they don’t have to worry about any kind of punishment or negative consequences from their employer or the government.

Louisiana practices employment at-will, meaning an employer can terminate an employee’s contract at any time, as long as it does not breach labor laws due to discrimination or other unlawful practices. Two exceptions to this rule are if the employee has a specified time in their contract or is a union member with a collective-bargaining agreement. Employment at-will also has exceptions related to retaliation, such as union affiliation, filing claims, and taking time off. If an employee is wrongfully terminated, they can contact a lawyer, and if successful, may gain back lost wages, lawyer fees, and compensatory damages for mental distress. Louisiana law also states that the employer must pay the final paycheck within the next scheduled payday or within 14 days of termination, except for deductions made for equipment kept by the employee.  

What Are the Key Labor Laws in Louisiana?

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

  • OSHA Laws – In 1970, all states in the US established the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which is managed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA. The goal of the OSHA is to make sure that all workers operate and work in a safe environment free from hazards. Additionally, the OSHA aims to prevent any work-related injuries that may arise from poor health standards. Some states have laws that are approved at the federal level and they complement state laws. However, Louisiana only complies with federal laws. The OSHA identifies six main types of hazards that may exist in the workplace: biological, chemical, work organization, safety, physical, and ergonomic.
  • COBRA Laws – If you’ve recently lost your job, you might be eligible to continue your group health benefits under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). However, this federal law only applies to businesses with at least 20 employees. That’s why some states, like Louisiana, have implemented mini-COBRA laws to cover health costs for businesses with less than 20 employees. There are some exceptions to these laws, such as employees who are eligible for different health plans or were let go due to fraud. To be eligible for mini-COBRA, you typically need to have worked for at least three months before losing your job.
  • Whistleblower Laws – To put it simply, “blowing the whistle” means reporting information that could land individuals who have broken the law in trouble. In almost all US states, there are laws to protect employees who speak out on law workplace violations from retaliation by their employers. Louisiana’s whistleblower law, enforced by the Louisiana Board of Ethics, safeguards public-sector employees from a wide range of whistleblowing actions. Private-sector employees are also protected under this statute. If public-sector employees are wrongly fired or suspended, they are entitled to be reinstated and to receive back pay. This protection extends to government-contracted employees and agencies. If someone is found guilty of violating the law, they may lose their job, be suspended, or be fined up to $10,000.
  • Background Check Laws – Employers should follow guidelines set forth in the Fair Credit Reporting Act to protect employee information from being used by certain services. It is not always mandatory to conduct background checks, except for certain types of employees such as those in insurance, in-home childcare, non-licensed nursing, supportive assistance work, and ambulance occupations.
  • Social Media Laws – Employers are prohibited from asking employees for personal information related to their social media accounts, including usernames, passwords, and authentication details. It is also against the law for employers to punish employees who decline to provide this information, as it would violate the Personal Online Account Privacy Protection Act.
  • Recordkeeping Laws – The following are the records that an employer must keep:
    • Selection, hiring, and employment records: Retained for 1 year after contract creation (2 years for federal agencies and contractors).
    • Payroll records and timesheets: Advisable to retain for 3 years.
    • I-9 forms: Kept for 3 years from the initial hiring date.
    • Employment benefits: Retained for 6 years after employment termination.
    • Tax records: Maintained for 4 years from the date the tax is paid.
    • Safety data: Kept for 5 years, referring to the specific year to which they pertain.
    • FMLA records: Retained for 3 years after employment termination.
    • Polygraph test records: Kept for 3 years after conducting the test.
    • Affirmative action data: Maintained for 2 years after employment termination.
    • Drug test records: Retained for 1 year after conducting the test.

Louisiana Payment Laws

To start off, let’s take a look at the laws that govern how much employees must be paid. We’ll delve into the details of minimum wage standards, including any exceptions that may apply.

What is the Minimum Payment in Louisiana?

Louisiana follows the federal minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour as it does not have its own regulations. Tipped employees who earn more than $30 in tips per month are entitled to the federal tipped minimum wage of $2.13 per hour. If their total hourly wage (including tips) does not reach $7.25, the employer is required to pay the difference. Subminimum wages can be paid to student-learners, full-time students in certain industries, and those with impaired productive capacity. The standard subminimum wage for individuals under 20 years old is $4.25 for the first 90 days of employment. Full-time students are eligible to receive 85% of the federal minimum wage, which amounts to $6.16 per hour.

What are the Exceptions for Minimum Payment in Louisiana?

Louisiana, like other states, adheres to federal law when it comes to minimum wage exceptions. The following professions and types of employees are considered as minimum wage exemptions in Louisiana:

  • Farmworkers and seasonal workers
  • Informal workers
  • Full-time students
  • Minors and young workers
  • Tipped employees
  • Non-profit organizations and college/universities
  • Employees with disabilities

What is the Payment Due Date in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, employers in the oil and gas, public service corporations, mining, and manufacturing industries are required to pay their employees at least twice a month. Payment dates default to the 1st and 16th of each month if no specific dates are chosen. For other industries, there are no specific laws dictating payment type or frequency, but employees throughout the US typically receive their pay on a weekly, biweekly, or semi-monthly basis.

What are Louisiana Overtime Laws?

Under federal law, hourly employees are generally entitled to overtime pay at 1.5 times their regular hourly rate for every hour worked over an 8-hour shift. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protects non-exempt workers who put in over 40 hours within any consecutive seven-day period. Louisiana, which has no particular overtime laws of its own, adheres to the FLSA regulations. The law applies specifically to non-exempt employees earning at least $684 per week, but there are numerous exceptions to the rule.  

What are Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in Louisiana?

Despite the purpose of overtime laws being to safeguard workers against employer exploitation, certain groups and professions have exceptions to these regulations due to their lower likelihood of being exploited. As stated by the FLSA, the following employees are exempted from overtime laws:

  • Executive and administrative employees earning a minimum of $684 per week
  • Outside sales employees
  • Professional employees such as artists, teachers, skilled computer professionals, etc.
  • Highly compensated employees earning more than $107,432 per year

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

What are Louisiana Time Off/Break Laws?

In Louisiana, adult employees may not be entitled to breaks during their 8-hour work shift, unless the employer chooses to provide them. However, if breaks are given, they must be compensated if they last for 20 minutes or less. Additionally, employees who choose to extend their breaks beyond this time do not have to be paid for the additional duration. Finally, if the nature of the job requires an employee to skip a meal break, the employee must be compensated for this period regardless.

What are the Exceptions to Break Laws in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, minors are the only group that is eligible for break laws. In terms of work, Louisiana employers have to offer a 30-minute meal break after minors have been working continuously for 5 hours.  

What are Louisiana Breastfeeding Laws?

In Louisiana, mothers are allowed to breastfeed in any workplace without it being considered a violation. Employers are required to provide a safe and private space for mothers to express milk, which should not be a bathroom. Additionally, breastfeeding mothers are guaranteed a reasonable amount of time to lactate, which can be taken during designated break times for up to one year after giving birth.

What are Louisiana Leave Laws?

Louisiana provides two types of leaves – required and non-required leaves.  

What is Louisiana Required Leave?

The following are the required leave types that Louisiana employers must provide to their employees, even though employers in Louisiana are not obligated to pay non-work time:

  • Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) – Louisiana employees may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a year for various reasons, such as caring for a sick family member, taking maternity/paternity leave, being unable to work due to illness, or managing household duties while a family member is on military duty. To be eligible for FMLA benefits, employees must have worked for their employer for at least a year, logged at least 1,250 work hours, and worked at a location with a minimum of 50 employees within 75 miles.
  • Jury Duty Leave – In Louisiana, workers are eligible to receive their full day’s pay for the time spent serving on a jury. In addition, by law, employers must grant their employees a day off specifically for jury duty, separate from any vacation or sick days outlined in their employment agreement.
  • Emergency Response Leave – When an employee is called upon to act as a first responder during emergency situations, they must be granted a leave of absence by their employer. These policies are typically regulated by the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and apply to medical personnel and technicians, firefighters, and law enforcement officers.
  • Bone Marrow Leave (Private Employer) – While most of the state laws in Louisiana are solely governed by the state itself, the law that governs bone marrow donations is a combination of state and federal regulations. If there are at least 20 employees under a certain employer, then an employee can receive a paid leave of absence to donate their bone marrow. The employee is able to determine the number of hours they need for the leave but this cannot exceed 40 work hours unless there is a specific reason, and in such instances, the employee must inform their employer. Additionally, to be eligible for a bone marrow leave, the employee must work at least 20 hours every week.
  • Pregnancy and Disability Leave (Private Employer) – According to state law, female workers receive significant protection when it comes to their maternity and disability leaves (related to maternity). When employed by a business that hires 25 or more workers, Louisiana laws apply, granting these employees up to 6 weeks of leave for normal pregnancies. If there are complications during childbirth or if any medical conditions arise during the pregnancy, employees are entitled to 4 months of disability leave.
  • Military Leave Both federal and state laws protect members of the military and armed forces in Louisiana, ensuring that they have the right to reinstatement after their military duties and cannot be discriminated against or discharged without proper cause for up to one year after their reinstatement. These laws are in place for all employees who serve in the Louisiana National Guard, militia, or other military branches.

What is Louisiana Non-Required Leave?

The non-required leave types are:

  • Sick Days (Private Employers) – As an employer, you are not obligated to give your employees a leave of absence, whether paid or unpaid, simply for being sick. But if you decide to implement policies regarding sick days, you have the option to establish a legal document outlining how these days are accrued and utilized.
  • Vacation Leave – In Louisiana, private businesses aren’t required to offer vacation days to their workers. However, they have the authority to establish policies that permit specific days to be classified as vacation time. Additionally, if an employer categorizes any unused vacation days as “paid,” those days will be received as compensation when the worker leaves the company.
  • Bereavement Leave – Currently, Louisiana does not have any laws in place that mandate employers to offer employees bereavement leave, whether it be paid or unpaid.
  • Holiday Leave – While it is not legally required in Louisiana, some employers choose to provide paid or unpaid time off for national holidays as a means of boosting employee morale and overall productivity.

The following are the official federal holidays observed in the US:

State Official Holidays Date
New Year’s Day 1 January
Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Day Third Monday in January
Washington’s Birthday 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
Election Day Every other year
Veterans Day 11 November
Thanksgiving Day Fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day 25 December

What are Louisiana Child Labor Laws?

Louisiana has child labor laws that are in place to keep minors safe from any physical, moral, or emotional hazards. The Louisiana Workforce Commission insists that no minor can be legally employed in Louisiana without an employment certificate, which can only be issued by the city or parish superintendent of schools. Also, it is essential to note that minors under the age of 14 are not eligible for job opportunities in the state of Louisiana.  

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

Here you can visualize the working hours restrictions for minors in Louisiana:

Age Group Work Hour Restrictions
14-15 – School day: Up to 3 hours

– School week: Up to 18 hours

– Non-school day: Up to 8 hours

– Non-school week: Up to 40 hours

– Start Time: Not before 7:00 a.m.

– End Time (Standard): Not after 7:00 p.m.

– End Time (June 1st to Labor Day): Not after 9:00 p.m.

16-17 – Rest Period: 8-hour rest period between workdays

– Additional restrictions:

– 16-year-olds: Cannot work between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. on a school day

– 17-year-olds: Cannot work after 12:00 a.m. (midnight)

What are the Banned Jobs for Minors in Louisiana?

The Louisiana Workforce Commission has set guidelines that prevent individuals under the age of 18 from working under certain conditions and occupations. These include:

  • Maintaining, cleaning, and oiling machinery
  • Working in mines and quarries
  • Working in manufacturing facilities dealing with explosives
  • Operating woodworking equipment such as circular saws and table saws
  • Driving motor vehicles on state roads (17 and 18-year-olds may be exempt from the driving restriction if they have special permits)

What are the Sanctions for Employing Minors in Louisiana?

Employers need to abide by certain criteria when employing minors, such as allowing state officials or Workforce Development members to enter the premises where minors work. Coercing minor employees to flee in the event of an official visit or not following the aforementioned provisions can lead to penalties ranging from $100 to $500. In serious cases of violating minors’ rights, jail time of 30 days to 6 months may also be involved. Further, civil penalties of up to $500 can be imposed for each specific offense.  

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.