Labor and Employment Law Overview: Idaho

Labor and Employment Law Overview requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: XpertHR Editorial Team

Summary

  • State law prohibits an employer from discriminating and retaliating against employees based on a variety of protected classes. See EEO, Diversity and Employee Relations.
  • An Idaho employer may consider criminal history and drug and alcohol testing as conditions of employment in certain circumstances. See Recruiting and Hiring.
  • In Idaho, there are requirements relating to the minimum wage and child labor. See Wage and Hour.
  • Idaho law specifies how frequently employees must be paid and which wage deductions an employer may make. See Pay and Benefits.
  • An Idaho employer may be required to provide employees with certain leaves of absence. See Attendance and Leave.
  • An employee's final paycheck must be provided within a certain time frame. See Organizational Exit.

Introduction to Employment Law in Idaho

Idaho is generally considered an employer-friendly state.

Select Idaho employment requirements are summarized below to help an employer understand the range of employment laws affecting the employer-employee relationship in the state. An employer must comply with both federal and state law.

An employer must also comply with applicable municipal law obligations affecting the employment relationship, in addition to complying with state and federal requirements.

EEO, Diversity and Employee Relations

Key Idaho requirements impacting EEO, diversity and employee relations are:

Idaho Human Rights Act

An employer with five or more employees working wholly or partially in the state must comply with the Idaho Human Rights Act (IHRA). Mirroring federal law, the IHRA prohibits an employer from discriminating against employees on the basis of:

  • Race;
  • Color;
  • Religion;
  • National origin (including the national origin of an ancestor);
  • Disability;
  • Sex (including pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions); and
  • Age (individuals 40 or over).

The law does not apply to domestic servants hired to work in and about a person's household.

Wage Act

The Wage Act applies to all Idaho employers, regardless of the number of employees. This law prohibits an employer from paying lower wages to one sex than the other for comparable work on jobs that have comparable requirements. An employer may, however, pay different rates based on seniority or merit increase systems.

Retaliation

An Idaho employer is prohibited from retaliating against employees who enforce their rights under state antidiscrimination or wage and hour laws. Retaliation occurs when an employer takes an adverse action against an employee because the employee:

  • Opposed illegal employment discrimination; or
  • Participated in a statutorily authorized proceeding.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on EEO, diversity and employee relations practices in Idaho can be found in the Idaho Employee Handbook Table of Contents, Disabilities (ADA): Idaho, EEO - Discrimination: Idaho, EEO - Harassment: Idaho, EEO - Retaliation: Idaho, Idaho Workplace Labor and Employment Law Posters and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Idaho? Federal requirements can be found in Disabilities (ADA): Federal, EEO - Discrimination: Federal, EEO - Harassment: Federal and EEO - Retaliation: Federal.

Recruiting and Hiring

Key Idaho requirements impacting recruiting and hiring are:

Background Checks

An Idaho employer may consider the prior criminal history of an applicant or employee. However, certain arrest records will be released only with an applicant's or employee's written consent.

While it is acceptable for an employer to ask about criminal convictions in an interview or on an application, the application form or interviewer should state that:

  • A conviction is not an automatic bar to employment; and
  • The seriousness of the crime and the date of the conviction will be considered.

Drug and Alcohol Testing

An employer may use drug and alcohol testing as a condition of employment or continued employment, provided certain conditions are met, e.g., employees are paid for testing time, and employers have a written testing policy.

Employees must pay for retests. If, however, the second test is negative, the employer must reimburse the employee for the test costs and, if applicable, reinstate the employee and compensate the employee for any time he or she was suspended or placed on administrative leave.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on recruiting and hiring practices in Idaho can be found in Preemployment Screening and Testing: Idaho. Federal requirements can be found in Preemployment Screening and Testing: Federal.

Wage and Hour

Key Idaho requirements impacting wages and hours are:

Minimum Wage

The current Idaho state minimum wage tracks with federal minimum wage, at $7.25 per hour. There are exemptions to the minimum wage law (e.g., executives), and a separate minimum wage rate exists for certain employees (e.g., tipped employees).

Child Labor

Child labor laws in Idaho restrict the occupations in which minors may be employed and the number of hours and times during which they may work.

An employer may not hire a minor to serve liquor or to handle liquor or packages of liquor in any place that brews, prepares or offers liquor for sale. There are additional restrictions for the hiring of employees 15 years of age and younger, e.g., jobs involving singing and dancing, or anything dangerous or indecent. Further restrictions exist under Idaho law for minors under 14 years of age, e.g., work in a mine, factory or store.

Minors under 16 may not work

  • More than 54 hours in any week;
  • More than nine hours in a day;
  • Before 6:00 a.m.; or
  • After 9:00 p.m.

Minors under the age of 14 may not work during school hours, with some exceptions, and minors ages 14 and 15 may work only during school hours if they meet certain academic standards.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on wage and hour practices in Idaho can be found in Minimum Wage: Idaho, Employee Classification: Idaho, Child Labor: Idaho and Idaho Workplace Labor and Employment Law Posters. Federal requirements can be found in Minimum Wage: Federal, Employee Classification: Federal and Child Labor: Federal.

Pay and Benefits

Key Idaho requirements impacting pay and benefits are:

Pay Frequency

At the time of hire, an employer must notify employees of:

  • Their pay rate; and
  • The regularly scheduled payday designated by the employer.

Idaho law requires an employer to pay wages at least once per calendar month on regular paydays the employer designates in advance. In addition, an employer must ensure that:

  • The pay period does not end more than 15 days before the regular payday; and
  • If the regular payday falls on a nonworkday, the employer makes the payment the day before.

Wage Deductions

An employer is required to furnish each employee with a written statement of deductions made from the employee's wages for each pay period the deductions are made. An employer may not withhold any portion of an employee's wages, except under the following circumstances:

  • The employer is required to withhold by state or federal law; or
  • The employer has the employee's written authorization to make deductions from the employee's paycheck.

Deductions taken with an employee's written consent must be for a lawful purpose.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on pay and benefit practices in Idaho can be found in Payment of Wages: Idaho, Involuntary and Voluntary Pay Deductions: Idaho, Idaho Workplace Labor and Employment Law Posters and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Idaho? Federal requirements can be found in Payment of Wages: Federal and Involuntary and Voluntary Pay Deductions: Federal.

Attendance and Leave

Idaho has fewer laws relating to required leaves for employees than many other states, but does have mandated leave laws such as:

  • Jury duty leave; and
  • Military leave.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on attendance and leave practices in Idaho can be found in the Idaho Employee Handbook Table of Contents, Other Leaves: Idaho, Jury Duty: Idaho, USERRA: Idaho and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Idaho? Federal requirements can be found in Other Leaves: Federal, Jury Duty: Federal and USERRA: Federal.

Organizational Exit

Under Idaho law, if an employee quits or is terminated or laid off by an Idaho employer, all wages due must be paid the sooner of the following:

  • The next regularly scheduled payday; or
  • Within 10 days of the separation (weekends and holidays excluded).

If, after separation occurs, the employee gives the employer a written request to have his or her wages paid at an earlier date, the employer has 48 hours to pay the outstanding wages (weekends and holidays excluded).

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on organizational exit practices in Idaho can be found in Payment of Wages: Idaho and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Idaho? Federal requirements can be found in Payment of Wages: Federal.