It was a resilient Monday morning with a cup of coffee in your hand until the office phone rang. As you answered the phone, the voice on the other side said, “Hello, this is from the Ministry of Labour. As we got a report from your employees on 25th Friday last week regarding employee wages, we would like to pay a visit to your company this week.”
Suddenly, your blood flows faster and you feel like your heartbeat stops. You are trying to put the puzzle together about why the labour department called and who was sending the report. Getting no answer, you reach the higher manager and tell everything.
All employers know that Department of Labour (DOL), also known as Ministry of Labour or the Ministry of Manpower, is a department responsible for setting national labour standards, creating labour dispute mechanisms, as well as managing employment, workforce participation, training, and social security.
Ministry of Labour generally pays a visit to companies regarding report or regular scrutiny to see whether companies do practice employment under standard labour act and/or has violated the standard labour act. However, most employers might not aware that when DOL visits a company, they can always audit with or without an employer’s concern or notice beforehand.
As mentioned earlier, DOL can enter your workplace at any reasonable time to investigate and enforce compliance. While sometimes they come without prior notice, they should always have a written notification under normal circumstances of the visit. The jobs of the labour inspector when visiting your industry include:
The inspector will issue a compliance order if an employer does not comply. The labour inspectors’ rights will be as follows:
Acknowledging yourself about labour inspector visit is important. It can help you prepare for any documentation or preparation needed in order to pass the inspection.
For the documents, human resource department should have several obligations for retention of records under any circumstances of employment. The records are what labour inspectors expect to see first. Your record should include the following points.
It is also suggested to keep a record on pay calculation and has written policies for every activity conducted within an organisation.
DOL might visit your company to make sure everything is in place. Commonly, the unannounced on-site visit is a tactic employed by the investigators, particularly when dealing with small employers who might not fully understand employment legal rights.
When these days happen to your industry, you shouldn’t be nervous. You can follow the suggestions by Bill Pokorny, the co-chair of the firm’s Labour and Employment Practice Group.
a) Keep smiling and be polite to the investigators. Any impolite act might subject you to have a very difficult corporate life in the future.
b) Contact your lawyer immediately. Make sure your lawyer has experience handling DOL audits. If not, get a referral to someone who does.
c) Don’t turn over any records, arrange employee interviews, or answer any other substantive questions until you talk to your lawyer.
d) Don’t talk to employees about DOL visit until you talk to your lawyer.
e) Make sure your time and payroll records are in good order BEFORE the DOL comes knocking. It means you should diligently organise and format your payroll system to easily provide them to either lawyer or DOL investigator when unannounced visit happens.
Read also: The Worst Effects of Violating Labour Rights