Oklahoma Labor Laws

March 19th 2024

This article covers:

What are Oklahoma 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.

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

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

According to Oklahoma law, it is considered discriminatory for employers, employment agencies, labor organizations, or training programs to refuse to hire, discharge, segregate, or treat an applicant, employee, or member of a labor organization unfairly based solely on their personal characteristics, such as:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • National origin
  • Age
  • Genetic information
  • Disability

It is prohibited for employers, labor organizations, and employment agencies to print or publish any notice or advertisement that indicates a preference, limitation, or any other form of discrimination based on discriminatory practices. However, it is permissible to display preference, limitation, or discrimination based on religion, sex, or national origin if it is a bona fide occupational qualification necessary for a particular position. Religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information are also considered bona fide occupational qualifications in the areas of hiring, classifying, or referring for employment if they are reasonably necessary for normal business operations. Finally, employees who are 65 years old and employed in a bona fide executive or high policy-making position (2 years before retirement) may be compulsorily retired if they are entitled to a nonforfeitable annual retirement of at least $44,000, and this is not considered as a discriminatory practice.

Oklahoma has a law (right-to-work law) that allows employees to decide whether or not to become a member of a labor union without being afraid of losing their job. This law means that no one in Oklahoma can be forced to join a union, resign from a union, pay dues or fees to a union or any other third party, or be recommended or approved by a union as a condition of employment. However, this law only applies to employees who were hired after September 28, 2001, when the law went into effect. Fire and police department workers are not permitted to go on strike. Anyone who violates this law will be charged with a misdemeanor.

In Oklahoma, employers are allowed to practice at-will employment, meaning they can terminate an employee at any point in time, with or without reason and without legal consequences. In the same breath, an employee is also allowed to terminate their job at any moment without providing a reason. However, it is unlawful for an employer to fire an employee based on their ethnicity, gender, faith, pregnancy, or any other protected status. Such an act is called wrongful termination. In addition, an employer should not punish an employee for filing a complaint regarding occupational safety and health in the office, neglecting monitoring equipment, etc., nor for going on jury duty, smoking in their own time, or taking family or medical/military leave. These are only some of the most frequent reasons employees may sue their employer for wrongful termination in Oklahoma. Employees who wish to learn more about their rights and wrongful termination should reach out to an employment attorney. If employment terminates in Oklahoma, whether it was voluntary or involuntary, the employer must pay all of the employee’s wages in full on the following regular payday.

What Are the Key Labor Laws in Oklahoma?

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

  • OSHA Laws – In Oklahoma, workplace safety is regulated by federal and state laws. Private sector employees are protected by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), which enforces safety regulations and promotes education to prevent injuries and deaths. OSHA recognizes a few types of hazards in the workplace (chemical hazards, physical hazards, biological hazards, and ergonomic risk factors. Public sector workers in Oklahoma are covered by Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health (PEOSH), which aims to reduce workplace fatalities and improve working conditions. PEOSH provides training, and outreach activities, and assists in creating state regulations.
  • COBRA Laws – When an employee leaves a job, they and their family can continue to receive health insurance for a limited time thanks to the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). This coverage can last up to 36 months but only applies to companies with 20 or more full-time employees. If a worker is not eligible for COBRA, Oklahoma law requires their employer to provide group healthcare insurance for at least 63 days after termination. This insurance covers things like hospital stays, medical treatment, and prepaid health plans, as well as Christian Science care and other forms of treatment.
  • Whistleblower Laws – Whistleblower laws protect employees from retaliation when reporting illegal or immoral activity. In relation to OSHA, it’s considered discrimination if an employer takes negative actions against an employee reporting violations or unsafe conditions. The Oklahoma Whistleblower Act supports state employees in reporting improper governmental activities without fear of retaliation. State employees can disclose violations, abuse of authority, waste of funds, or discuss agency operations without negative consequences. If aggrieved, employees can appeal to the Oklahoma Merit Protection Commission within 60 days.
  • Recordkeeping Laws – As an employer, it is important to note that there are federal regulations regarding the retention of employee employment records. Specifically, the Fair Labor Standards Act requires that employers hold onto specific records of non-exempt workers for at least three years. These records should include:
    • Name, address, birthday (if younger than 19), and sex
    • Occupation
    • Hours worked each day and week
    • Exact time and day of the week when the employee’s workweek begins
    • The basis on which the employee’s wages are paid (e.g., $12 per hour or $400 per week)
    • Hourly pay rate
    • Total overtime earnings
    • Additions or deductions from the employee’s wages
    • Total wages paid each pay period
    • Date of payment and the pay period

Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma?

Let’s start by talking about the minimum wage in Oklahoma. In simple terms, it is the lowest amount that employers are legally required to pay their employees. Currently, the minimum hourly wage in Oklahoma is $7.25, which is the same as the federal minimum wage. It’s important to note that Oklahoma laws dictate that if a company has at least 10 full-time employees or earns over $100,000 a year in profits, they must pay their employees the regular minimum wage.

What are the Exceptions for Minimum Payment in Oklahoma?

It’s important to note that not all employees qualify for the federally mandated minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. For the purposes of classification, workers fall into one of two categories: exempt and nonexempt. Exempt employees are those who receive a salary (typically for executive or professional roles) and are not entitled to minimum wage or overtime pay. Nonexempt employees, on the other hand, are paid by the hour and must receive at least the minimum wage, as well as overtime pay. It’s also worth mentioning that there are certain circumstances under which an employee may be exempt from minimum wage requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA):

  • Executive, professional, and administrative employees who earn not less than $684 a week
  • Computer employees who earn not less than $684 per week or $27.63 an hour
  • Highly compensated employees who earn $107,432 per year or more
  • Farm workers
  • Employees in fishing industries
  • Seasonal and recreational workers

In Oklahoma, employees who receive tips (like waiters, servers, and cleaning staff) are entitled to the federal tipped minimum wage of $2.13 per hour, but employers must ensure they make at least the federal minimum hourly wage of $7.25 when tips are added. Employers are required to make up the difference if employees do not make the federal minimum. Trainees must be paid at least the current minimum wage for all training hours, but learners, apprentices, and messengers may be paid lower wages. Additionally, full-time students and workers with a physical or mental disability or injury may also receive lower wages.  

What is the Payment Due Date in Oklahoma?

According to Oklahoma law, employers in the state are required to pay their employees on scheduled paydays at least twice per calendar month. Exceptions to this rule include state, county, municipal, school district, technology center school district, non-private foundation, and exempt employees who may receive their pay once per month. It’s important to note that wages must be paid out no later than 7 days with a 2-day grace period included.

What are Oklahoma Overtime Laws?

The FLSA states that if an employee works more than 40 hours a week, they are entitled to overtime pay at a rate of 1.5 times their regular pay.

What are Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in Oklahoma?

It’s important to note that not every employee is eligible for overtime pay. To qualify for an exemption, there are specific criteria that must be met. Additionally, certain job duties, industries, or positions can also impact eligibility. It’s worth mentioning that some employees may be exempt from overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act:

  • Executive, administrative, and professional employees who receive a fixed salary of at least $684 per month (or $35,568 per year)
  • Computer employees who earn not less than $684 a week or $27.63 per hour
  • Highly compensated employees who earn $107,432 per year or more
  • Outside sale employees
  • Agricultural or horticultural employees
  • Commissioned sales employees in retail or service establishments who receive more than half of their earnings from commissions on goods or services
  • Motor carrier employees (e.g. drivers, driver’s helpers, loaders, or mechanics providing services in transportation on highways in interstate or foreign commerce)

If you are an employee who has a fixed salary, you may be eligible for overtime pay under the Fluctuating Workweek Method, provided certain conditions are met. Firstly, your salary must be fixed, meaning you earn the same salary regardless of the number of hours you work. Secondly, you must sometimes work less or more than 40 hours a week. Finally, your hourly wage must be at least $7.25 per hour. If these conditions are met, you are entitled to receive bonuses, commissions, and hazard pay when calculating your overtime hours under the FWW provisions.

Learn more in detail about Oklahoma Overtime Laws.

What are Oklahoma Time Off/Break Laws?

While it’s a fact that Oklahoma doesn’t legally compel companies to give employees who are 16 years or older any lunch or rest breaks, there’s still value in providing time off. In truth, allowing staff to unwind and eat helps create a good working atmosphere and lessens the chances of burnout. And if a job agreement commits a business to grant breaks, it must honor that deal; not doing so would be considered an infraction of the contract.

What are the Exceptions to Break Laws in Oklahoma?

If you take a rest period or meal break that lasts 30 minutes or more, you won’t get paid for that time. However, if you take a break that is less than 30 minutes, like a quick coffee break, you should be compensated for that time.

What are Oklahoma Breastfeeding Laws?

When it comes to nursing mothers needing breaks to breastfeed or express milk at work, Oklahoma state and federal laws both apply. In Oklahoma, employers are required to provide unpaid breaks for breastfeeding during lunch or other breaks and a private space that’s not a bathroom. However, if an employer believes it would cause “undue hardship” to the business, they don’t have to offer these breaks. On the federal level, breastfeeding mothers are entitled to reasonable unpaid breaks for one year after giving birth whenever they need them. This applies to businesses with more than 50 nonexempt employees.

What are Oklahoma Leave Laws?

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

What is Oklahoma Required Leave?

The following are the required leave types that Oklahoma employers must provide to their employees:

  • Annual Leave – Annual leave is a type of paid time off that employers offer their employees for various reasons such as vacations, personal time off, or due to an illness (when sick leave is used up). The amount of annual leave an employee earns depends on whether they are on probation or a permanent employee and the number of years they have served. If they have served for less than five years, they earn 15 days of annual leave per year and can accumulate up to 45 days. If they have served for 5-10 years, they earn 18 days of annual leave per year and can accumulate up to 78 days. If they have served for 10-20 years, they earn 20 days of annual leave per year and can accumulate up to 80 days. And, if they have served for more than 20 years, they earn 25 days of annual leave per year and can also accumulate up to 80 days.
  • Sick Leave (Public Employers) – State employees working full-time can earn sick leave days based on their hours worked in a pay period, but not on any overtime hours. Sick leave can be utilized for various reasons, including sickness, injury, pregnancy, medical treatments, and if the employee’s condition can harm the health of others at work. The accrual of sick leave days is based on the length of an employee’s service. Although each eligible employee gets 15 sick leave days, the accumulation of sick leave days is unlimited regardless of their years of service. Nonetheless, temporary or other limited-term employees are not qualified to earn or utilize sick leave.
  • Family And Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – If you’re an eligible employee, your employer is required by federal law to give you time off for certain family health or medical reasons. This law is known as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). As an employee, you’re entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. FMLA covers all types of public agencies, public and private elementary or secondary schools, and companies with 50 or more employees. To be eligible for leave under FMLA, you must meet certain criteria, such as working for your employer for at least 12 months and 1,250 hours in the last 12-month period. You can take leave for reasons such as caring for a newborn or foster child, caring for an immediate family member with a serious health condition, or taking leave due to your own serious health condition.
  • Holiday Leave (Public Employers) – Employees of the state of Oklahoma (excluding temporary and limited-term employees) are granted paid time off on several holidays throughout the year, including New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. If Christmas falls on a workday, employees are entitled to two days off before or after the holiday. If any holiday falls on a Saturday, the preceding Friday is considered a holiday, and if a holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday is considered a holiday. In the event that an employee is required to work on a holiday, they will be compensated with a paid leave on another day.
  • Jury Duty Leave – As a US citizen, if you receive a summons from a court to serve on a jury, it’s your civic duty to fulfill it. If you’re an employee in Oklahoma, you can take unpaid time off for jury duty without any fear of discrimination. You don’t have to use any of your sick, annual, or vacation time to serve as a juror.
  • Voting Leave – Employers are required to allow employees who are registered to vote to have up to two paid hours of time off for voting. However, if there is a three-hour voting window before or after an employee’s regular work hours, the employer isn’t bound to offer time off. For example, if polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and an employee works from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the employer doesn’t have to provide leave for voting.
  • Military Leave – It is the right of employees who serve in the National Guard or reserve component of the Armed Forces to get paid leave for active or inactive military duty. However, they will only receive payment for the initial 30 work days during this period, which is between 1 October and 30 September.
  • Enforced Leave – Employees who are permanent or probationary may be given up to 10 days of enforced leave with pay. The leave can be for various reasons such as the illness or injury of a family member, mental or physical disability of the employee’s child who can’t take care of themselves, or a death in the family or household.
  • Donor Leave (Public Employers) – If you work for the state of Oklahoma or one of its departments or agencies, you’re eligible for a leave of absence for certain reasons. Specifically, you can take up to 5 paid workdays off if you’re donating bone marrow, and up to 30 paid workdays off if you’re donating a human organ.

What is Oklahoma Non-Required Leave?

The non-required leave types are:

  • Sick Leave (Private Employers) – Private Employers are not obligated to offer Sick Leave.
  • Donor Leave (Private Employers) – Private Employers are not obligated to offer Donor Leave.
  • Holiday Leave (Private Employers) – Private Employers are not obligated to offer Holiday Leaves, except federal ones.

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 Oklahoma Child Labor Laws?

Federal and state laws in Oklahoma aim to create a safe working environment for minors while also encouraging regular school attendance by limiting child labor.

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

In Oklahoma, underage workers are protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations regarding work hours. If a worker is aged 14 to 15 years old, an employer must follow the following restrictions and regulations for their employment:

  • Work is allowed between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (or 9 p.m. from June 1st to Labor Day).
  • A maximum of 3 hours of work is allowed on a school day.
  • A maximum of 8 hours of work is allowed on non-school days.
  • A maximum of 18 hours of work is allowed during a school week.
  • A maximum of 40 hours of work is allowed on a non-school week.

In Oklahoma, the law requires that minors who are under 16 years old are given a one-hour break if they work for 8 consecutive hours, or a 30-minute break if they work for 5 consecutive hours. However, workers who are 16 years old and above are not required to have any break periods.  

What are the Banned Jobs for Minors in Oklahoma?

Employers who hire workers under 16 must provide a secure and sanitary work environment, without any risks. However, minors under 16 are prohibited from working in certain occupations including manufacturing, mining, machinery operation, and transportation services. They also cannot work in warehousing, public utilities, communications, or demolition. The exceptions include farm work, delivering newspapers, and working for a parent’s business. It is important to note that Oklahoma enforces hazardous occupation restrictions set by the FLSA.

What Sanctions are There for Employing Minors in Oklahoma?

If an employer or organization violates any of the aforementioned rules relating to the employment of minors, they may receive a misdemeanor charge and be fined up to $500 per occurrence. In addition, they may face imprisonment for a period of 10-30 days.

Learn more in detail about Oklahoma 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.