Reading Your IWC

“I’ve heard you mention an IWC but I don’t know what it is.”

Your HR Survival Tip

Nearly every time we ask a new client if they have posted their IWC Wage Orders, they usually give us a blank look and ask what it is.

As an employer, you have the responsibility to post a minimum of two things: current employment law poster(s) and your Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) Wage Order(s). The IWC is a document providing you a great deal of information about wage and hour laws for your industry. There are different IWCs for different industries and some companies may need to use two, one for the office staff and a different one for the field.

If you want to implement an alternative workweek schedule, such as four 10-hour days, this document gives you the steps to follow. A secret ballot vote in accordance with the IWC is required to avoid paying overtime for those longer days. Different industries have different implementation timing so it’s important to be reading the correct IWC.

Do you require any of your employees to wear a uniform or any other logo wear for your company? According to the IWC, you are responsible for the maintenance of the logo wear. This might mean you have a service clean the uniforms or that you pay the employee a reasonable amount for the cleaning.

Other items of interest in the IWC include:

  • Reporting time pay when you send an employee home from work early.
  • Deductions from wages or reimbursements based on breakage, loss of equipment, or the employee’s cash drawer coming up short.
  • Regular rates of pay are explained, including how the rate affects overtime pay.
  • Rules for requiring employees to provide their own tools versus the company providing them.
  • Information on changing rooms, lockers, seats for employees, room temperature, and elevators is also included.

The print on the IWC may be small but the amount of information provided is huge. You are strongly advised to stop and read your industry’s IWC. When posting it on the wall, just staple it together and attach it to the wall in a way that still makes it readable. Don’t know where your IWC is? Get a copy online through the CA Department of Industrial Relations.

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