What TO DO When Ministry of Labour Visit Your Company?

October 28, 20192:25 pm657 views

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.

How do you feel when you receive such a call?

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.

See also: Employee Monitoring: Ethics and Laws Employers Must Know

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.

What does DOL do?

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:

  • Advise organisations regarding their rights and obligations in relation to the labour laws
  • Investigate complaints about non-compliant employers, thus, an investigator will interview employees
  • Conduct inspections of work policies
  • Ensure that employers comply at the workplace
What do they inspect?

The inspector will issue a compliance order if an employer does not comply. The labour inspectors’ rights will be as follows:

  • They have rights to information related to employment laws
  • They have rights to make copies of documents
  • They have rights to inspect and question employer and/or employees about any article, substance or machinery at the workplace
  • They have rights to question employer and/or employees about the work done
  • They have rights to inspect or question employer about document relating to employment laws
  • They have rights to remove any items from the workplace. When the inspectors do this, they will acknowledge receipt and return the items within a reasonable time.
What should HR prepare?

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.

  • Complete employee data including full name, date of birth, address, sex and occupation.
  • The time of day and day of the week that employee’s workweek begins
  • Regular hourly rate of pay in any week overtime is paid
  • Basis of pay such as per hour, per day, per week, per month, or per piece commission or sales
  • Total daily or weekly pay excluding overtime
  • Total overtime pay
  • Total additions or deductions from employee’s wages
  • Dates, amount, and nature of the items making up the additions or deductions
  • Total wages paid during a wage period
  • Date of the first payment
  • Pay period covered

It is also suggested to keep a record on pay calculation and has written policies for every activity conducted within an organisation.

What to do when DOL visit without notice?

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