Financing Your Rock & Roll Lifestyle

As an employee, you have certain rights. In most cases, your employer must pay you minimum wage, provide you with overtime pay for hours worked above 40 hours per week, and provide you with worker compensation and unemployment insurance. Full time students under age 22 receiving college credit for internships are exempt from some of these requirements.

Employment at Will

Idaho is an Employment at Will state, which means that you will not likely have an employment contract and your employer can fire you at any time, for any reason or no reason, without warning. As an employee, you also have the right to leave your job at any time, for any reason or no reason, without warning. However, an employer may not fire you on the basis of age, disability, race, color, national origin, sex, genetic information, military status, or religion.

Social Security Number

Most people need a Social Security Number to work. Some people need an Individual Tax Identification Number instead. For example, if you are from another country working in the United States, you might need an Individual Tax Identification Number. Your employer is required to report your wages to the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS, in turn, uses your Social Security Number or Individual Tax Identification Number to process your federal tax return.

Minimum Wage

Currently, the national minimum wage, as followed in Idaho, is $7.25 per hour. However, new employees under the age of 20 may be paid less, but at least $4.25 per hour, during their first 90 days employment.

Tipped employees can also be paid less than minimum wage. A tipped employee is someone who works in a job where they regularly receive more than $30 a month in tips, like a barista or a waiter. In Idaho, the minimum wage for tipped employees is currently $3.35 per hour since it’s assumed that tipped employees will make a portion of their income through tips.

Off the Clock Violations

Working outside of your scheduled work time without pay is generally known as working “off-the-clock.” It is a violation of federal employment law for an employer to ask you to work without pay – either before your work shift begins or after your work shift has ended.

Taxes & Deductions

Typically, employees have Social Security (also known as FICA) and Medicare taxes deducted from their paychecks. FICA stands for Federal Insurance Contributions Act and the money contributed to FICA provides financial benefits for retired and disabled workers and their dependents. Medicare provides healthcare benefits for senior citizens and people with disabilities. High school students or college students taking six or more credit hours are exempt
from paying these two taxes when working for a school, college, or university.

There are also other amounts that can be deducted from your paycheck. In Idaho, workers have a state income tax deducted. There are also some other specific deductions, such as uniform costs, but you must have given written authorization, in advance, to your employer in order for these deductions to be taken.

Every year you will file your taxes to both the Internal Revenue Service and the Idaho State Tax Commission on or before April 15. If it turns out that you paid too much tax for your level of income, you will be entitled to a refund. If you failed to pay enough tax by not reporting extra income or claiming too many exemptions you will have to pay money.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Workers’ compensation insurance is paid by your employer and provides compensation and medical benefits to workers who are injured on the job or develop an occupational illness caused by the job. Most employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance, but it is not meant to replace a health insurance plan.

Sexual Harassment & Discrimination

Sexual harassment refers to severe, persistent and unwanted sexual advances in the workplace. It can include sexual comments, pressure for sexual favors, inappropriate touching, sexual assault, unwelcome sexual jokes, or degrading pictures of women or men. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination, prohibited by both federal and state law.

Other prohibited forms of discrimination in the workplace include age, disability, race, color, national origin, military status, or religion. If you think you have been the victim of harassment or discrimination in your workplace, you can contact the Idaho Commission on Human Rights.