The focus of the Utah Antidiscrimination and Labor Division (UALD) Wage Claim Unit is to administer and enforce certain State labor laws. The applicable statutes and administrative rules include:
- Payment of Wages Act, Utah Code Ann. §34-28-1 et-seq.
- Utah Minimum Wage Act, Utah Code Ann. §34-40-101 et seq.
- The Employment of Minors Act, Utah Code Ann. §34-23-101 et seq.
- Utah Administrative Code R610 (Antidiscrimination and Labor)
The Wage Claim Unit processes, investigates, mediates, adjudicates and files judgments with respect to claims concerning the laws listed above. It also acts as a resource to employees and employers by answering over 40,000 inquiries per year, conducting educational seminars and distributing written educational materials.
What You Need To Know
Utah Minimum Wage
The Utah Minimum Wage Act outlines the minimum wage requirements, as well as the exemptions to these requirements. The law also lists the record keeping requirements and applicable penalties for violation of the law. The administrative rules for enforcing the Utah Minimum Wage Act outlines additional requirements for individuals earning tips.
The minimum wage in Utah is $7.25 per hour.
Minors under the age of 18 must be paid minimum wage; however, and employer may pay a minor $4.25 per hour during the first 90 days of their employment.
Tipped employees (adults and minors) may be paid $2.13 per hour, but only so long as the tips they earn, in addition to the base wage paid, combined are equal to or exceed the minimum wage.
Payment of Wages
The Utah Payment of Wages Act outlines the requirements employers must follow with respect to paying wages to employees. The Utah Payment of Wages Act also specifies an employer’s responsibilities regarding paydays, final paychecks, electronic payroll deposits, lawful deductions, wage disputes, and payroll records.
An employer is required to pay wages to an employee for all hours that an employee is working. This includes when an employee is required to be on the employer’s premises ready to work, to be on duty, to be at a prescribed work place, to attend a meeting or training, and for time used during established rest or break periods excluding meal periods of 30 minutes or more where the employee is relieved of all responsibilities.
The law also outlines UALD’s authority to enforce the law and specifies the penalties for violating the law. The law also makes it illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for filing a complaint with UALD.
If you have a dispute over wages with your employer, you may file a wage claim with the Wage Claim Unit.
Hours employed includes all time during which an employee is required to be working, to be on the employer’s premises ready to work, to be on duty, to be at a prescribed work place, to attend a meeting or training, and for time used during established rest or break periods excluding meal periods of 30 minutes or more where the employee is relieved of all responsibilities. Utah Administrative Code R610-3-2(H). Wages are owed for all hours employed.
Basics of the Employment of Minors
There are many areas of agreement between State and Federal child labor law. However, there are some Federal standards that are stricter than Utah law, and if the Federal law applies the employer must comply with the stricter requirement. For example, under Federal law, 14 and 15 year old minors may not work more than three hours on a school day and may not work past 7:00 p.m. from Labor Day to June 1 and past 9:00 p.m. from June 1 to Labor Day. Under Utah state law, minors under the age of 16 may work four hours on a school day, until 9:30 p.m. year around and after 9:30 p.m. if the next day is not a school day. In this example, employers must comply with stricter Federal standards. Please visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s website to compare standards at www.dol.gov.
It is the responsibility of the employer to determine that the work being done by the youth worker is not prohibited by Utah or federal labor laws.
If you would like to apply for permission to employ a minor during times or in occupations in which minors are not otherwise permitted to work, or for which you must first obtain UALD’s written authorization, please complete and submit the Application for Authorization To Employ a Minor. Please note that you must submit your application at least five days before you begin to employ a minor.
Employment of Minors
State Policy Regarding the Employment of Minors
The State of Utah has the policy of encouraging the growth and development of minors by providing opportunities for work and for work related learning experiences while at the same time adopting reasonable safeguards for their health, safety, and education. This policy is set forth in the Utah Employment of Minors Act.
Who is covered by the Utah Employment of Minors Act
Minors are defined as anyone 17 years old or younger. However, the Act does not apply to minors 16 or 17 years of age if they:
Work Permits for Minors
Minors are not required to have a work permit for employment purposes. However, all school districts are expected to cooperate with employers’ requests for information regarding a prospective minor employee’s age (i.e., age certificate.)
Your Rights as a Minor Employee
There is no limit on the number of hours 16 year olds and 17 year olds can be required to work. Employers cannot require minors under 16 to work during school hours (except as authorized); to work more than four hours before and after school hours; to work more than 8 hours in a 24-hour period; to work before 5:00 A.M. or after 9:30 P.M., unless the next day is not a school day; or to work more than 40 hours in a week.
What to expect when filing with us
How to File a Wage Claim
To print and file a wage claim, you must complete UALD’s Wage Claim Assignment Form. Return the completed form to UALD by hand delivering it to our office, mailing it to the address listed on the first page of the form, or fax the form to us at (801) 530-7609. You can also click on the link below and submit your wage claim online.
If have any questions regarding the Wage Claim Assignment Form you may come to our office or call us and ask to speak to a Wage Intake Officer. The Intake Officer will answer your questions and provide assistance regarding how to fill out the Wage Claim Assignment Form and making sure that you have provided all required information and supporting documents.
If you have provided sufficient information to make a wage claim, your claim will be assigned a case number and an Intake Officer will process and track your claim through the initial stages of the wage claim process. If your Wage Claim Assignment Form is Incomplete you will receive a letter or phone call from the Intake Officer letting you know what additional information is needed. You can then resubmit the completed form to UALD.
What Happens Once the Wage Claim is Complete?
Once a complete Wage Claim Assignment Form is submitted to UALD and assigned a case number, a copy of your wage claim will will be mailed to your employer along with a copy of the Employer Response form.
Within 10 business days from the date of the letter providing your employer notice of your Wage Claim, your employer is required to prepare and submit its response to your Wage Claim. Your employer must complete the Employer Response form. The completed Employer Response form and any other documents or other evidence supporting the employer’s response must be provided to UALD. UALD may grant an employer’s request for a reasonable extension of time to file its response.
You will be sent notice of the employer’s written response and required to provide a written reply unless UALD instructs you otherwise. UALD may grant your reasonable extension of time to file your written reply. Once you submit your reply to UALD, your claim is ready to be assigned to a Wage Claim Investigator.
The Wage Claim Investigator will review the parties’ written submissions and determine the next steps in the investigation. This may include requesting additional documentation from you or your employer, including:
Once the Investigator obtains all relevant information, UALD will issue a Preliminary Finding. The Preliminary Finding will state whether UALD finds wages are owed to you or not. If you or your employer disagree with the Preliminary Finding, you will have 10 days to submit any additional evidence that you believe will change the outcome. Within the 10 days, you or your employer may also request an informal hearing before UALD’s Hearing Officer.
After the 10 days expires and no hearing is requested, UALD will issue an Order based on the Preliminary Finding if no additional evidence is provided or if the evidence provided does not change the decision reached in the Preliminary Finding. In the event that new evidence is submitted that warrants a different result, UALD will issue an Amended Preliminary Finding.
In the event that UALD issues an Order finding that you are owed wages, the Order will specify the amount of the wages owed. In addition, the Order will assess a penalty as provided for in the Utah Payment of Wages Act.
Mediation is a voluntary opportunity to mediate your wage claim. A mediator provided by UALD will facilitate communication between the parties who are in disagreement, and see if the differences can be resolved before an investigation. The mediation is NOT a hearing on the facts of the case, and the Mediator will NOT issue a decision on the merits of your case.
This is an informal administrative hearing. The purpose of the hearing is for the hearing officer to obtain evidence in your case so he or she may evaluate the evidence and make a decision about whether you are entitled to the wages you claim.
You and your employer are required to attend the hearing. This is the only opportunity you will have to present evidence in a hearing at UALD.
You may choose to represent yourself or you can have a lawyer help you.
It is your responsibility to prove, through the submission of relevant evidence, that you are entitled to the wages you claim. It is your employer’s responsibility to prove that you have already been fully compensated.
At the hearing, you will need to present evidence, including:
Your employer will also be able to present their own evidence. You are responsible for arranging for your own witnesses to attend the hearing.
The hearing officer will not issue a written decision on the day of the hearing but will issue one within a reasonable time after the hearing.
The written decision will be mailed to you and your employer. It informs you of the decision as well as your appeal rights.
Appealing the Decision
If you disagree with the final Order, you have two options:
- Request that the Director reconsider the Order. Your request must be received within 20 days after the date that the Order was sent to you. Your request must be made in writing and must state the specific reasons why you think the Order is wrong. The Director will issue a written decision granting or denying your request. Her/his reconsideration will be based on the contents of the file. She cannot consider any new evidence. UALD must receive your request within 20 days. It is not enough for you to simply put it in the mail on the 20th day.
- File an appeal in State District Court. You have up to 30 days from the date of the Order to file an appeal in Court. If UALD does not receive a timely request for reconsideration, the Order will be considered final. If your employer fails to pay an Order for Payment, that Order will be docketed in State Court and the UALD will start a legal action to collect the amount awarded.
The mediator’s role
An experienced Mediator will create opportunities where dialogue and mutual respect may lead to a resolution of the dispute, before UALD proceeds with its investigation.
How mediation works
Early resolution advantages
The mediation is NOT a hearing on the facts of the case, and the Mediator will NOT issue a decision on the merits of your case.
Early resolution of the charge has many advantages, some of which include:
Outcomes of mediation
If the parties are able to reach a settlement, the Division will prepare a Negotiated Settlement Agreement and the case will be closed.
Key points regarding an agreement:
If the parties fail to reach a resolution the case will be assigned for investigation.
At any time in the UALD process, both you and your employer may offer to try to mediate or settle the case at any time in the process. A mediator or wage claim specialist can assist with settlement discussions.
You may withdraw your wage claim with UALD and file your case in state court.
Either party can obtain legal counsel or other representation at any time. UALD must have written notice of representation before it will communicate with your representative.
Both you and your employer are obligated to keep UALD informed of a current address and phone number. UALD may close your case if you cannot be located.
The parties are also required to cooperate fully with the process. UALD may close your case if you do not cooperate with the investigation.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Utah minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Minor employees (under 18 years of age) may be paid $4.25 per hour, as a training wage, for the first 90 days of employment. Employees receiving tips of at least $30.00 per month may be paid a cash wage of $2.13 per hour, if the total of the cash wage and the tips total at least $7.25 per hour.
Unless you work for a private company, the Division cannot help you with your wage claim. If you work for the State, a County or a City, you should follow your employer’s policies and procedures for filing grievances. You may also be able to file a claim for unpaid wages in State Court.
The State of Utah has no overtime law. You should contact the U.S. Department of Labor at (801) 524-5706 about filing an overtime claim.
To file a wage claim, you must obtain and complete a Wage Claim Assignment Form. You may download a form from our website. If you prefer, you can contact the Division by phone or in person to obtain the Form, or if you need help completing the form.
The Utah Labor Rules address these issues and provide the criteria under which certain deductions may be made from an employee’s wages. In most cases an employee’s signature is required. Utah Administrative Code R610-3-18.
An employee is responsible for getting himself/herself from home to a designated work location and home at night. If an employer sends an employee to a remote work location to perform a job function they are responsible for paying wages for the travel time. An employer is within his right to establish differing rates of pay for drive time as opposed to skilled work time; but it must establish a policy that is understood by employees to avoid claims of unpaid wages. The federal website has discussions regarding drive time rulings that have been made under the FLSA at www.dol.gov.
The employee may file a wage claim against the employer with the Labor Commission. Other options available to the employee include filing an action in small claims court or contacting an attorney. Click here to download a wage claim form.
Employers must comply with both laws if both laws apply. An employer should examine the guidelines under both State and Federal law and comply with the standard which is the strictest.
Overtime is a provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Information on this Federal Law may be obtained from the U.S. Dept. of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, 150 E. Social Hall Avenue, Suite 695, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111. Telephone (801) 524-5706 or visit their website: https://www.dol.gov/whd.
If you are an independent contractor, you may pursue monetary relief by filing a breach of contract claim in State Court.
If not, you may file a claim in State Court, but the Division will not be able to help you.
You also have the option of filing a claim for unpaid wages in State Court and you are not obligated to file with the Division first; However, if you do file a claim in Court, you cannot also file a wage claim with the Division. You cannot file in both places.
There are no state or federal laws that require an employer to provide lunch breaks or rest periods for adult workers. Most employers in the interest of efficiency and good employee relations will establish a policy governing leave and break periods. Minors under the age of 18 are entitled to a meal period of at least 30 minutes not later than five hours from the beginning of their shift. A rest break is required for minors of at least 10 minutes for every three hour period or part thereof that is worked.
Under Utah Rules, an employer is required to pay an employee for required attendance at training. If an individual employee is required to attend training and is not paid for that time they have the right to file for the unpaid wages as they would any other unpaid wage.
On-call status is not normally considered work time. However, the FLSA deals with work required while on-call and all hours of required travel and work performance are normally subject to overtime pay provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor has references to published position papers on these issues at www.dol.gov.
If the employee is separated by the employer, all wages are due immediately and payable within 24 hours of separation. (An exemption exists for employees of the state of Utah.) If the employee does not have a written contract for a definite period and resigns, the wages become due and payable on the next regular payday. These provisions may not apply to the earnings of a sales agent earning commissions.
In general, Utah labor law does not require an employer to provide benefits to its employees. If an employer does establish a policy or practice of providing benefits they are expected to abide by the policy or practice in a non-discriminatory manner.