Labor and Employment Law Overview: Utah

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

  • Utah law prohibits an employer from discriminating and retaliating against employees in a variety of protected classes. Employers must also provide pregnancy accommodations. See EEO, Diversity and Employee Relations.
  • Utah permits preemployment drug and alcohol testing. See Recruiting and Hiring.
  • In Utah, there are requirements relating to the minimum wage and child labor. See Wage and Hour.
  • Utah has laws that relate to employee pay and benefits, including health care continuation, pay frequency, pay statements, wage deductions and wage notice requirements. See Pay and Benefits.
  • Under Utah law, employees are entitled to certain leaves or time off, including jury duty and witness leave, voting leave, minor child court appearance leave and military leave. See Time Off and Leaves of Absence.
  • Utah prohibits smoking in the workplace and using a handheld communication device while driving, and allows guns in parking lots. See Health and Safety.
  • When employment ends, Utah employers must comply with applicable final pay and job reference requirements. See Organizational Exit.

Introduction to Employment Law in Utah

Utah has laws that provide greater protections to employees than federal law, including pregnancy accommodation rights and health care continuation coverage obligations for smaller employers, but generally follows federal law with respect to topics such as the minimum wage and occupational safety.

Select Utah 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 Utah requirements impacting EEO, diversity and employee relations are:

Fair Employment Practices

The Utah Antidiscrimination Act (UADA) prohibits discrimination and harassment based on protected characteristics, such as:

  • Race;
  • Color;
  • Sex;
  • Pregnancy, childbirth or pregnancy-related conditions;
  • Age (40 years or older);
  • Religion;
  • National origin;
  • Disability;
  • Sexual orientation; and
  • Gender identity.

The UADA, which applies to employers with 15 or more employees, also prohibits retaliation against an employee because he or she opposed illegal discrimination, filed a complaint or participated in a proceeding, investigation or hearing.

Pregnancy Accommodation

The UADA requires an employer with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and related conditions. An employer may require employees to provide certification detailing the medical need for a reasonable accommodation, unless the employee has requested more frequent restroom, food or water breaks.

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

Recruiting and Hiring

An employer that tests applicants for drugs and alcohol must meet certain requirements, such as:

  • The employer and/or its management must submit to similar drug and alcohol testing on a periodic basis;
  • The employer must pay all costs of testing it requires;
  • The testing must occur during, or immediately after, the regular work period of current employees; and
  • An applicant must be given an opportunity to notify the employer of any information that he or she considers relevant to the test, such as identification of currently or recently used prescription and nonprescription drugs.

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 Utah can be found in Preemployment Screening and Testing: Utah and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Utah? Federal requirements can be found in Preemployment Screening and Testing: Federal.

Wage and Hour

Key Utah requirements impacting wages and hours are:

Minimum Wage

Utah's minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, the same as the federal minimum wage.

The minimum wage must be reviewed every three years and any time the federal minimum wage is changed. Utah's minimum wage may not exceed the federal minimum wage.

Child Labor

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

A minor may not work in any occupation deemed hazardous by federal law. Exceptions apply.

Minors 16 years of age or older may work in:

  • All occupations not declared hazardous; and
  • Occupations that involve the use of motor vehicles if the minor is licensed to operate the motor vehicle for employment purposes under state law.

Minors 14 years of age or older may work in a variety of nonhazardous occupations, including:

  • Retail food services;
  • Automobile service stations, except for the operation of motor vehicles and the use of hoists;
  • Public messenger service;
  • Janitorial and custodial service;
  • Lawn care; and
  • The use of approved types of vacuum cleaners, floor polishers, power lawn mowers and sidewalk snow removal equipment.

Child labor laws also list other occupations in which minors over the age of 12 and over the age of 10 are permitted to engage.

Minors under the age of 16 may not work:

  • During school hours (except as authorized by the proper school authorities);
  • Before or after school in excess of four hours a day;
  • Before 5:00 a.m. or after 9:30 p.m. (unless the next day is not a school day);
  • More than eight hours in any 24-hour period; and
  • More than 40 hours per week.

Minors are entitled to a meal break of at least 30 minutes, which must be provided no later than five hours after the beginning of the workday.

Minors who work at least three hours are entitled to a paid rest break of at least 10 minutes. Minors who work at least eight hours are entitled to two paid rest breaks of at least 10 minutes each.

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 Utah can be found in Minimum Wage: Utah, Child Labor: Utah, Utah Workplace Labor and Employment Law Posters and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Utah? Federal requirements can be found in Minimum Wage: Federal and Child Labor: Federal.

Pay and Benefits

Key Utah requirements impacting pay and benefits are:

Health Care Continuation

Utah's health care continuation coverage law applies to employers with two to 19 employees. Under the law, an employer must offer continuation of heath care coverage for up to 12 months to an employee and his or her covered dependents who lose coverage due to:

  • The death of the employee;
  • Job termination (unless terminated for gross misconduct);
  • A reduction in hours;
  • Retirement;
  • Divorce or legal separation;
  • A dependent child ceasing to be a covered dependent;
  • Sabbatical;
  • Disability; or
  • Leave of absence.

Payment of Wages

An employer may pay its employees by cash or check, as long as the employees can cash their checks at full face value and the employer does not designate a particular financial institution for the exclusive payment of paychecks. An employer may pay wages by direct deposit or electronic paycards if certain conditions are met.

Pay Frequency

Employees must be paid at least semimonthly on regularly scheduled paydays designated in advance. Employees who are paid on an annual salary basis must be paid at least monthly.

Pay Statements

On each regular payday, an employer must furnish each employee with a statement showing the total amount of each wage deduction.

Wage Notices

An employer must inform employees at the time of hire of their rate of pay, pay dates and place of payment by posting a written notice.

Wage Deductions

In Utah, an employer may make wage deductions if required by a court order or by state or federal law (e.g., child support withholding, creditor garnishments, tax levies); if authorized by the employee in writing; and for certain loans, shortages, losses or damages.

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 benefits practices in Utah can be found in Health Care Continuation (COBRA): Utah, Payment of Wages: Utah, Involuntary and Voluntary Pay Deductions: Utah and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Utah? Federal requirements can be found in Health Care Continuation (COBRA): Federal, Payment of Wages: Federal and Involuntary and Voluntary Pay Deductions: Federal.

Time Off and Leaves of Absence

Utah has few laws relating to required leaves for employees, which cover all employers. These laws include:

  • Jury duty/witness leave;
  • Voting leave;
  • Minor child court appearance 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 time off and leave of absence practices in Utah can be found in the Utah Employee Handbook Table of Contents, Other Leaves: Utah, Jury Duty: Utah, USERRA: Utah and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Utah? Federal requirements can be found in Other Leaves: Federal, Jury Duty: Federal and USERRA: Federal.

Health and Safety

Key Utah requirements impacting health and safety are:

Smoke-Free Workplace

The Utah Indoor Clean Air Act prohibits smoking (including e-cigarettes) in all enclosed indoor places of public access, including any workplace that is not a place of public access but has one or more employees who are not owner-operators of the business.

Weapons in the Workplace

A Utah employer may not restrict or prohibit employees from storing their legally owned firearms in their cars while parked on employer property, as long as the firearm is locked securely in the vehicle and is not in plain view.

However, an employer may restrict or prohibit employees from storing a firearm on employer property if it provides an alternate parking lot at no additional cost or a secure, monitored location where individuals can store their firearm.

Safe Driving Practices

Utah prohibits drivers from using a handheld wireless communication device to:

  • Text;
  • Email;
  • Dial a phone number;
  • Access the internet;
  • View or record video; and
  • Enter data.

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 health and safety practices in Utah can be found in the Utah Employee Handbook Table of Contents, HR and Workplace Safety: Utah, Employee Health: Utah, Workplace Security: Utah, Utah Workplace Labor and Employment Law Posters and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Utah? Federal requirements can be found in HR and Workplace Safety (OSHA Compliance): Federal, Employee Health: Federal and Workplace Security: Federal.

Organizational Exit

Key Utah requirements impacting organizational exit are:

Final Pay

If an employee voluntarily resigns or if work ceases due to a labor dispute, final wages must be paid by the next regular payday. An employee who is terminated or laid off must be paid all wages due within 24 hours of termination. Exceptions apply for commissioned sales agents.

Whether accrued vacation leave must be paid upon termination depends on company policy.

An employer may pay all wages owed to a deceased employee's successor who presents an affidavit attesting to certain information.

References

Utah employers enjoy qualified immunity from claims when providing information in good faith about an employee's job performance, professional conduct or evaluation to a prospective employer, unless the employer discloses the information with actual malice or the intent to mislead.

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 Utah can be found in Payment of Wages: Utah, Employee Communications: Utah and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Utah? Federal requirements can be found in Payment of Wages: Federal and Employee Communications: Federal.