Georgia Labor Laws

Updated: 04/14/2020

Georgia Minimum Wage

In Georgia, the minimum wage rate is $5.15 per hour, which is well below the federal rate. With limited exceptions, employers must pay $7.25 per hour, the rate set under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

USA map with Georgia superimposed

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History of Georgia Labor Laws

While the hourly federal minimum wage surpassed $5.15 per hour in 2007, Georgia's rate hasn't budged since then. In fact, Georgia has the lowest minimum wage rate in the country, along with Wyoming.

Municipality Minimum Wage Laws

The state allows municipalities to set their own wage laws, but only two cities have done so ⎼ and only public employees in those cities are impacted by the laws. In 2017, Clarkston became the first city in Georgia to set an hourly rate of $15 for city employees. Shortly thereafter, Atlanta made a similar decision, making incremental increases until reaching $15 per hour for city workers.

Georgia Minimum Wage Exemptions

The Georgia Supreme Court answered an important question about who's exempt from the state's minimum wage requirements in Anderson v. Southern Home Care Services, et al.

In that 2015 case, the employers said employees who were exempt from the minimum wage provisions of the FLSA, because they provided "companionship services," were still subject to other provisions of the FLSA. Therefore, the employers argued, they weren't covered by the Georgia Minimum Wage Law (GMWL). The court disagreed, saying the state minimum wage applied to those employees.

In addition, the court said, although the employees provided in-home personal support services, they weren't considered "domestic employees" under the GMWL, so that exception to state minimum wage requirements didn't pertain to the employees.

Georgia Posting Requirements

Required Posters:

  • Equal Pay for Equal Work
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • Vacation Unemployment Insurance
  • No Smoking Sign
  • Smoking Permitted - No One Under the Age of 18 Allowed
  • Bill of Rights for Injured Workers
  • Workers' Compensation Official Notice (three options available):
    • Option 1 - Panel of Physicians - This panel must include at least six physicians or professional associations. The makeup of the panel must include one orthopedic surgeon, a minority physician and four other properly qualified physicians, but no more than two industrial clinics. The employer determines the physicians to be included on the panel, and if the panel meets the above requirements, the employer maintains control. The panel doctor is the primary authorized treating physician. The injured worker is allowed one change to another doctor on the panel without approval.
    • Option 2 - Conformed Panel - The Conformed Panel requires a minimum of 10 physicians or professional associations. In addition to the physician requirements for the traditional Panel of Physicians, the Conformed Panel must include a general surgeon and chiropractor. The major difference between the traditional Panel of Physicians and the Conformed Panel is the expanded number of physicians or professional associations and the addition of general surgeon and chiropractor. The injured worker is allowed one change to another doctor on the panel without approval.
    • Option 3 - Managed Care Organization - The Managed Care Organization (MCO) provision allows insurers and employers to contract with a Board Certified MCO to provide a health care program for injured workers. This program is to include: health care providers and financial incentives to reduce service costs and utilization, peer review, service utilization review, dispute resolution, safety and an early return-to-work program. Participating organizations are required to provide each covered employee with an information card that explains how the program works and a toll-free, 24-hour telephone number to call in the event of an on-the-job injury. The employer must post the MCO procedures in prominent places on the business premises.
  • Benefits: Each option has something to offer depending on your corporate structure and philosophy. 1. The Panel of Physicians is very structured and allows you to keep control of the medical treatment of your injured workers. 2. The Conformed Panel is also structured but allows your employees an expanded choice of physicians. 3. The MCO is greatly expanded and might lend itself to organizations with multiple locations in the state. The MCO, like a PPO, will offer discounts. The MCO is a complete program of managed care for the injured worker.

Tipped Wage in Georgia

Tipped employees must be paid at least $2.13 per hour in direct wages, but employers may need to pay more than that. Reason: Tips plus direct wages must add up to at least the state minimum wage rate. If it does not, employers must make up the difference.

Overtime Wage in Georgia

Employers are required to pay overtime for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. The overtime rate is one-and-a-half times the regular rate of pay. There's no daily overtime requirement in Georgia.

Exemptions apply to white-collar workers employed in executive, administrative, professional and outside sales positions. These employees must be paid on a salary basis to qualify for the exemption.

Child Labor Laws in Georgia

Minors under the age of 16 can't work between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

In addition, these minors can't work during the hours when public or private schools are in session. There's an exception for minors who have completed high school or have been excused from attendance in school by a county or independent school system board of education.

Minors younger than 16 years old can't work for more than four hours on any day when school is in session, more than eight hours on non-school days or more than 40 hours in any week.

Minors who are under 12 years old can't work at any time. However, that rule doesn't apply to the employment of a minor in agriculture, domestic service in private homes and certain other situations.

Employer Recordkeeping Requirements

Georgia has recordkeeping rules that businesses should remember. Employers must keep information regarding each employee on file for at least four years. The clock starts ticking from the calendar year in which the paycheck was due.

According to state law, here's the data employers should have on file:

  • Name
  • Social Security number
  • State or states in which the services are performed, and if any of such services are performed outside this state and are not incidental to the service within the state, the employee's base of operations (or if there is no base of operations, then the place from which such services are directed or controlled) and the employee's residence (by state)
  • Date on which the individual was hired, rehired or returned to work after temporary layoff, and date separated from work and reason for that
  • Remuneration paid for services and date of payment, showing separately:
    • Cash remuneration, including special payments (such as bonuses and gifts)
    • Remuneration in any medium other than cash, including special payments (such as bonuses and gifts)
  • Amounts paid the individual as allowance of reimbursement for traveling or other business expenses, dates of payment, amounts of payment, and amounts of such expenditures actually incurred and accounted for by the individual
  • With respect to any period for which the individual is paid:
    • At a fixed rate of pay per week or longer period
    • On a fixed daily basis, the daily rate
    • On a fixed hourly basis, the hourly rate
    • On a piece-rate or other variable-pay basis, the method by which the remuneration is computed
  • With respect to pay periods in which the individual performs services in both covered and exempt employment:
    • Hours spent in covered employment
    • Hours spent in exempt employment
  • Beginning and ending dates of each pay period
  • Total amount of remuneration paid in each quarter for services
  • Records shall be maintained by each employing unit in such form as to make it possible to determine from an inspection thereof with respect to any worker:
    • Earnings by pay-period weeks, if paid on a weekly basis, or if not so paid, then by calendar weeks or by other seven consecutive day periods
    • Weeks of less than full-time work
    • Time lost due to the individual's unavailability for work

Recent Georgia Labor Law Updates

Bill of Rights for Injured Workers - July 2019

Updated to reflect a change to the maximum average weekly wage amounts for injuries designated as catastrophic and non-catastrophic. In addition, the total compensation payable to a surviving spouse as a sole dependent at the time of death has been increased to $270,000.

June 2018

Updated to reflect a web address to include a web address for filing claims online and also includes an updated list of locations where claims can be filed in person.

Georgia Labor Law Questions & Answers

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