Ohio Labor Laws

March 15th 2024

This article covers:

What Are Ohio’s 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.

Minimum Wage $10.45 per hour
Overtime Laws 1.5 times the rate of regular pay after working 40 hours in a workweek ($15.68 per hour for minimum wage workers)
Break Laws Breaks not required by law

What Are the Hiring, Working & Termination Laws in Ohio?

Ohio employees have the right to a fair hiring process under the Ohio Civil Rights Act. Discrimination based on race or color, religion, national origin and ancestry, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), age, military status, or disability is prohibited. Therefore, Ohio employers are not allowed to refuse to hire or treat job applicants or employees differently based on any of these characteristics.

In 2017, Ohio approved the implementation of the “Ban-the-box” law to promote fairness during the hiring process. This law aims to promote equal opportunities by preventing questions about past arrests that didn’t lead to any conviction during job applications. Additionally, it delays background checks in certain circumstances.

In Ohio, the majority of states follow the “at-will employment” principle which allows either the employer or employee to terminate the employment relationship at any time without providing a specific reason. Private employees are also subject to this unless their contract states otherwise.When an employee is terminated or resigns, it is the employer’s responsibility to provide them their final payment within 15 days or the next payroll date, whichever is earlier.

What Are the Key Labor Laws in Ohio?

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

  • COBRA and Ohio Mini-COBRA Laws – Ohio employees who experience significant life events such as termination, divorce or illness may have options to continue their health insurance coverage through federal COBRA or Ohio Mini-COBRA. This coverage can last for up to 36 months and is offered at 102% of its original cost. To qualify, the employee or their dependents must meet certain conditions. Additionally, subsidies for this coverage are available annually from April 1 through September 30.
  • OSHA Law – The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is responsible for enforcing workplace health and safety standards at the federal level. They conduct routine inspections to ensure compliance. Additionally, Ohio has its own agency, the Public Employment Risk Reduction Program (PERRP), which focuses on workplace safety for public employees. PERRP provides inspections and consultations to mitigate imminent risks.
  • Ban-the-Box Law – In 2017, Ohio approved the implementation of the “Ban-the-box” law to promote fairness during the hiring process. This law aims to promote equal opportunities by preventing questions about past arrests that didn’t lead to any conviction during job applications. Additionally, it delays background checks in certain circumstances.
  • Whistleblower Protection Laws – In Ohio, there’s a law that safeguards employees who report violations of state or federal regulations in the workplace. Employers cannot take any action, including termination or intimidation, against whistleblowers acting in good faith. Nonetheless, the whistleblower must meet certain requirements. They must first alert their supervisor in writing or verbally about the violation. If there’s no corrective measure taken, the employee can contact officials such as the prosecuting attorney or inspector general. However, if there’s an immediate dangerous situation or criminal offense, the employee can directly contact public authorities.
  • Background Check Laws – Ohio employers must provide written notice to employees before collecting pre-employment data and should adhere to regulations outlined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Ohio’s “Ban-the-box” law bars employers from inquiring about criminal history during initial applications, but some roles require background checks, such as child care and school staff, adult care providers, home health agency workers, and staff assisting persons with disabilities.
  • Social Media Policy – Ohio employees should be aware that their Internet activity on company-issued devices may be monitored. It is also important to note that using social networking websites during working hours without permission from the employer is prohibited. Even when off-duty, Internet usage may not be considered private since it can be seen by others. Employees should refrain from posting pictures in their work attire, posting unlawful content, sharing false information about their employer or colleagues, or discussing work-related assignments.
  • Drug and Alcohol Testing Laws – Ohio does not have any regulations in place for how private employers can conduct drug and alcohol testing. But, workers who are employed by the State must participate in drug and alcohol testing under two circumstances: if the employer has a legitimate reason for testing and if an employee is being hired for a new position.
  • Recordkeeping Laws – Ohio state law mandates that employers maintain precise and durable employee records which include the workers’ personal information such as name, address and social security number. These records should further highlight the employee’s earnings per pay period including gross earnings exclusive of deductions as well as the date and amount of wages paid. The said records must also include the dates of hiring, rehiring, layoff or termination, along with absences, type of service provided, and other compensation excluding wages. It is essential that these records be preserved for a minimum of five years and be accessible for inspection at any time.

Ohio Payment Laws

What is the Minimum Payment in Ohio?

The current minimum wage in Ohio is $10.45 an hour. However, this rate only applies to businesses that make over $385,000 in yearly sales. Lower-earning businesses can pay the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. For employees who regularly receive over $30 a month in tips, also known as tipped employees, the minimum wage in Ohio is $5.25 per hour. However, when combined with their earned tips, this amount should equal or exceed the state minimum wage of $10.45. If not, the employer must make up the difference.

What are the Exceptions for Minimum Payment in Ohio?

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers can legally pay employees aged 16 to 19 a subminimum wage for the first 90 days of employment, which is commonly referred to as the training wage. In Ohio, this rate is currently $4.25. However, once the 90 days have passed, Ohio employers are required to pay their employees at least a regular minimum wage rate. It’s worth noting that Ohio follows FLSA regulations when it comes to minimum wage, meaning that certain employees, such as agricultural and taxi workers, as well as highly paid salaried employees, may be exempt from minimum wage requirements.

What is the Payment Due Date in Ohio?

Ohio employers are required to pay employees for work completed in the first 15 days of the previous month on or before the first day of the current calendar month. Payments for work completed from the 16th to the last day of the previous month must be paid on or before the 15th day of the current calendar month. However, employers are still allowed to pay wages daily or weekly if they choose to do so.

What Are Ohio Overtime Laws?

Ohio has regulations regarding overtime requirements and compensation, as outlined in the Ohio Code. It is important to note that any work exceeding 40 hours in a workweek is considered overtime and must be compensated at a rate of 1.5 times the regular pay, with exceptions not included.

What are the Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in Ohio?

The Ohio Senate recently passed a bill, effective from July 6, 2022, that exempts certain occupations from overtime requirements. This includes:

  • Employees of businesses earning less than $150,000 in yearly gross sales
  • Agricultural workers
  • Casual babysitters
  • Live-in caretakers
  • Recreational camp staff
  • Public employees
  • Administrative, professional, or executive employees

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

What Laws are in Place for Time Off/Breaks in Ohio?

In Ohio, employers are not mandated by federal or state law to offer their employees lunch breaks or rest periods during their work hours. However, if an employer decides to provide such breaks, they must relieve their employees of all duties while they are on an unpaid break, and if the breaks are under 20 minutes, they should be paid at the same hourly rate.

The state of Ohio obligates employers to provide breaks for underage employees. The law specifies that minors working continuously for 5 hours or more must receive a minimum of 30 minutes for meal or rest time.

What are Ohio's Breastfeeding Law?

The United States’ FLSA laws mandate that employers provide nursing mothers with reasonable break time and appropriate facilities in which they can express their breast milk. Adequate facilities that accommodate their needs should be provided, but not restrooms or toilet stalls. Following childbirth, this right extends for up to a year.

Learn more in detail about Ohio Break Laws.

What Are Ohio's Laws Regarding Leave?

It’s important to note that when it comes to determining whether certain leaves are mandatory by law, each state in the US has their own set of regulations. In this section, we will take a closer look at the types of leaves that are required by law and those that are not in Ohio.

What is Ohio Required Leave?

The following are the required leaves together with their description:

  • Family and Medical Leave If you work in Ohio and experience a medical emergency or need to care for a family member in a similar situation, you may be able to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under The Family and Medical Leave Act. This applies to events such as childbirth, adopting or fostering a child, having a personal health condition that keeps you from working, or caring for a relative with a serious health condition. Keep in mind that to qualify for this benefit, you must have worked for your employer for at least 12 months and completed 1,250 hours in that time.
  • Jury Duty Leave  If an employee in Ohio is summoned for jury duty, their employer cannot prevent them from attending or punish them in any way if they choose to go. The law also forbids employers from threatening or firing employees for fulfilling their civic duty. That said, employers may request that their workers use their vacation time to cover any absences related to jury duty.
  • Emergency Response Leave – Ohio State employees who volunteer as firefighters or EMS providers are eligible for emergency response leave without facing any negative consequences. However, they must adhere to certain rules before requesting leave, such as providing proof of certification and notifying their employer in advance of their absence. If circumstances prevent them from doing so, they must provide a written explanation from their chief of emergency services. Moreover, the employer can subtract any hours missed due to emergency response from the employee’s total wages.
  • Military Leave  According to USERRA law, members of the uniformed services can take unpaid military leave and still receive full seniority credit during their deployment – as long as their active military service is under 5 years, their military discharge is not dishonorable, and they give their employer notice of their military service. Additionally, they must return to work in a timely manner. After deployment, they can return to their previous position with the same benefits and seniority level.
  • Family Military Leave – Ohio law grants the parent, spouse, or legal custodian of a uniformed services member the option to take up to 10 days or 80 hours of unpaid family military leave when the family member is called to active duty, injured, or hospitalized during deployment. To qualify for this leave, the employee must provide written notice, meet certain length-of-service and hours-worked requirements, and exhaust all other available leave options except for sick or disability leave. Upon returning from this leave, the employee is entitled to all benefits that were in place prior to the family medical leave.
  • Leave for Victims of Crime – In Ohio, employees who have experienced domestic violence can take time off work to attend various court proceedings related to their case, such as criminal case court preparations, grand jury appearances or criminal proceedings where they have been subpoenaed to testify. However, during the absence, the employer may withhold pay unless the criminal proceedings were a result of injuries suffered at work.
  • Bereavement Leave (Public Employees) – As per the State policy, public servants can take a maximum of three days off from work with pay when they lose an immediate family member.
  • Vacation and Holiday Leave (Public Employees) Employees who work full-time can enjoy paid vacation days as part of their benefits package. After one year of service, employees are granted 80 hours of paid vacation time. Depending on the number of years served, employees may also receive additional vacation days. For instance, after 8 years of service, an employee can earn 120 hours of vacation time, while after 15 years, they can receive 160 hours, and after 25 years, they can get 200 hours. Furthermore, State employees can take advantage of paid leave on public holidays.
  • Voting Time Leave  It’s good to know that Ohio employers are unable to impede their workers’ voting rights. This indicates that they are required to offer a reasonable amount of time off for employees seeking to participate in the electoral process.

What is Ohio Non-Required Leave?

There are two types of non required leave:

  • Bereavement leave (Private Employees) – In Ohio, private employers are not mandated to offer bereavement leave to their employees.
  • Vacation and holiday leave (Private Employees) – Ohio employees who work in the private sector do not have a guaranteed right to take vacation time or to receive paid holidays. This is usually the case if their employment contract doesn’t specify otherwise.

Here is a table of official US holidays observed in Ohio:

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

Learn more in detail about Ohio Leave Laws.

What Child Labor Laws Are Followed in Ohio?

If a minor wants to work in Ohio, they need to provide their employer with an age certificate, schooling certificate, and a work permit issued by their school. Before starting work, both the employer and employee need to sign a written agreement that outlines the wage rate and payment details.

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

If you’re a minor under the age of 16 in Ohio, there are certain labor laws you should be aware of. During school days, you can work anytime between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., for no more than 3 hours. While school is in session, you cannot work more than 18 hours in a week, and no more than 8 hours on a non-school day. When school is out of session, you cannot work more than 48 hours in a week. Minors aged 16 and 17 have slightly different regulations. They can work before 7 a.m. when school is in session, or before 6 a.m. if they haven’t worked after 8 p.m. on the previous day. They’re also allowed to work after 11 p.m. on a night before a school day.

What are the Banned Jobs for Minors in Ohio?

Ohio has a Minor Employment law that prohibits minors from working in occupations that are considered hazardous for their age group. These include construction operations, working with explosives, driving motor vehicles, using power-driven machinery, and working in confined spaces like silos, utility vaults, sewers, and boiler rooms.

Learn more in detail about Ohio Child Labor Laws.

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.