Federal program allows employers to self-audit payroll, avoid fines

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) encourages Tennessee employers to take part in the Payment Audit Independent Determination program, or PAID. This United States Department of Labor (USDOL) initiative gives employers the opportunity to avoid costly fines for wage and overtime violations.

PAID is a new nationwide program that allows employers to self-audit their compensation practices and, if they discover overtime or minimum wage violations, to self-report those violations.

If an employer discovers issues during an audit, they can then work in good faith with USDOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) to correct their mistakes and to quickly provide 100 percent of the back wages due to their affected employees.

“The PAID program provides Tennessee employers the opportunity to fix these issues before they become major problems,” said Kim Jefferson, Assistant Commissioner for the TDLWD Workplace Regulations and Compliance Division. “PAID allows employees to receive wages owed to them in a timely manner and it can save employers from paying costly fines.”

The program’s primary objectives are to quickly resolve wage violation claims without litigation, to improve employers’ compliance with overtime and minimum wage obligations, and to ensure more employees receive the back wages they are owed, faster.

Employers must pay all back wages due by the end of the next full pay period after receiving the summary of unpaid wages, and they must provide proof of payment to WHD.

To be eligible to participate in PAID an employer must be covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Employees included in the self-audit cannot be subject to prevailing wage requirements.

“We encourage all eligible Tennessee employers to visit the USDOL website to learn more about this program,” said Jefferson. “The website lists all the factors that determine if an employer can take part in PAID.”

A complete guide to the PAID program can be found online at dol.gov/whd/paid/index.htm.

USDOL has district offices in Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville. Employers with questions about the PAID program will find contact information for the office nearest to them at dol.gov/whd/local/index.htm. They can also email Nettie Lewis with the WHD at lewis.nettie@dol.gov.