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Kevin O'Flaherty

Navigating the complex world of Indiana employment laws in 2023 can be challenging, but being well-informed is crucial for both employers and employees. With a comprehensive guide covering various aspects such as at-will employment, right-to-work laws, wage regulations, leave policies, workplace health and safety, hiring practices, termination, and final pay, employee benefits, recordkeeping, and other laws, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions and avoid potential pitfalls. Let’s dive in and explore the intricacies of Indiana employment laws.

Indiana At-Will Employment

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Indiana labor laws follow the at-will employment doctrine, which means that employers and employees have the right to terminate the employment relationship at any time and for any reason, subject to certain exceptions. These exceptions may include public policy, implied contracts, and implied covenants of good faith and fair dealing. It is essential to be aware of these exceptions as they can protect employees from unjust termination and employers from potential lawsuits.

In addition to the at-will doctrine, Indiana also mandates certain break time requirements. Employees who take a break of 20 minutes or less must be compensated for their break time at their usual rate, as required by federal law. Furthermore, there are no explicit meal break regulations in Indiana, and the state follows the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

Right-to-Work Laws in Indiana

Under Indiana labor laws, which fall under the broader scope of Indiana law, the state is a right-to-work state. This means that employees cannot be forced to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment. This legislation was adopted in 2012, following the example set by federal laws prohibiting mandatory union membership or dues as a condition of employment.

While right-to-work laws grant employees the choice to forgo union membership and dues, this could potentially result in reduced wages and fewer benefits for workers. Unions may not have the same level of bargaining power under Indiana minimum wage law, which can impact the overall working conditions and compensation for employees.

Wage Regulations

Indiana’s wage regulations, also known as wage and hour laws, play a crucial role in ensuring fair compensation for employees. The state has established rules regarding minimum wage, overtime pay, and tipped employee wages, which are essential for both employees and employers to understand.

In the following subsections, we will delve into the specifics of these wage regulations.

Minimum Wage

The minimum wage in Indiana is currently set at $7.25 per hour, as established by Indiana’s minimum wage law. However, certain employees may be exempt from Indiana’s minimum wage law due to specific state or federal law exemptions. For example, minors under the age of 18 are prohibited from engaging in any occupation designated as “hazardous” by the FLSA, with certain exceptions, in accordance with Indiana’s occupational safety regulations.

Additionally, Indiana provides a subminimum wage rate for employees under 20 years of age, which is $4.25 per hour. Employers with five or more minors are required to use the Indiana Department of Labor’s Youth Employment System (YES) site. This site is used for monitoring and reporting minor-employee data. It’s important for employers to be aware of these regulations and for employees to know their rights concerning minimum wage.

Overtime Pay

Employees in Indiana who work more than 40 hours a week are eligible to receive overtime pay. This rate is 1.5 times their regular wage rate, except in cases where they are exempt. In Indiana, a workweek is defined as any 168-hour period that regularly recurs. This does not have to coincide with the calendar week. This overtime pay rate ensures that employees are fairly compensated for their additional hours of work.

It’s worth noting that specific categories of workers earning a minimum of $684 per week are not eligible for overtime pay. Employers should be aware of these exemptions and ensure that all eligible employees receive the proper overtime compensation for their hours worked.

Tipped Employees

In Indiana, a tipped employee is defined as someone who typically and regularly receives more than $30 a month in tips for their occupation. Tipped employees must be paid a minimum of $2.13 per hour, with the employer responsible for ensuring that the minimum wage is met when tips are taken into account and for reporting minor employee information as required.

Employers must maintain a record of all tips received by their employees. In cases where an employee’s tips and base hourly wage do not meet the minimum wage, the employer must pay the difference to ensure the employee receives the appropriate compensation.

As a tipped employee, it’s crucial to understand these regulations and ensure that your employer is compliant.

Leave Policies

Indiana leave policies play a crucial role in providing employees with the necessary time off for various life events and personal matters. In the following subsections, we will explore the specifics of family and medical leave, military leave, and other leave types such as jury duty, emergency response, and civil air patrol leave.

Family and medical leave is a type of leave that allows employees to take time off for medical reasons.

Family and Medical Leave

Family and medical leave in Indiana comes under the umbrella of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). It guarantees eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for major life events. To be eligible for family military leave in Indiana, employees must meet two criteria. They must have worked for the same employer for at least 12 months and must have completed a minimum of 1,500 hours in the preceding 12 months of employment.

Qualifying events for family and medical leave include:

  • The birth or adoption of a child
  • A serious health condition of the employee or a family member
  • A qualifying exigency related to a family member’s active duty military service.

Employers are required to maintain benefits while their employee is on FMLA leave, and employees have the right to be reinstated upon completion of their leave.

Military Leave

Military Family Leave is designed to support employees who have family members ordered to active duty. To be eligible, employees must meet the following criteria:

  • Have been employed for at least 12 months
  • Have worked at least 1,500 hours during the previous year
  • Be related to a person ordered to active duty as a spouse, parent, grandparent, child, or sibling.

When requesting military family leave, employees must follow these guidelines.

  • Submit their request at least 30 days prior to the commencement of the leave unless the active duty orders are issued less than 30 days before the requested leave is to commence.
  • Employers may ask for written confirmation of an employee’s eligibility for leave.
  • The calendar year’s leave length is limited to 10 working days. That is the maximum number of days one can take off.

Upon return from leave, employees must be restored to their prior positions or an equivalent position with comparable pay, benefits, seniority, and other requirements. Employers may offer the option to use earned paid vacation leave or personal leave in place of up to 10 days of leave. This does not include paid medical or sick leave.

Other Leave Types

In addition to family and medical leave and military leave, Indiana also offers other leave types such as Civil Air Patrol Leave, Witness Duty Leave, and Indiana Emergency Response Leave. These types of leave are not covered by federal or state law and are specific to Indiana.

Civil Air Patrol. Civil Air Patrol. Leave allows employees to be absent from work without penalty when engaging in emergency services related to their membership in a civil air patrol, provided that orders were received prior to the employee’s reporting to work.

Witness Duty Leave prohibits employers from taking adverse action against an employee, such as dismissal or deprivation of benefits, due to the employee having received or responded to a subpoena in a criminal proceeding or being on jury duty leave.

Indiana Emergency Response Leave is provided specifically for volunteer firefighters or members of a medical services association.

Workplace Health and Safety

Employers in Indiana must adhere to workplace health and safety standards to ensure the well-being of their employees. These standards include compliance with the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA) and the Indiana Smoke-Free Air Law.

The Indiana Smoke-Free Air Law includes the following provisions:

  • Smoking is banned in all enclosed spaces within places of employment.
  • Smoking is prohibited within 8 feet of public entrances to those places.
  • Employers must inform their employees of applicable smoking restrictions.
  • Employers must remove ashtrays and other smoking materials that aren’t available for retail.
  • Employers must post signs stating “State Law Prohibits Smoking Within 8 Feet of This Entrance” or similar.
  • Employers must not discriminate against or retaliate against employees or potential employees who exercise their rights under the law.

Hiring Practices

Hiring practices in Indiana play a crucial role in ensuring a fair and inclusive workforce. In the following subsections, we will explore the specifics of new hire reporting, background checks, and anti-discrimination laws during the hiring process.

New hire reporting is a requirement for employers in Indiana. Employers must report all new hires to their employers.

New Hire Reporting

Private employers in Indiana are required to report minor employee information, as well as submit information regarding new employees and certain employees who have returned to work at the Indiana New Hire Reporting Center. This facility provides a way for employers to satisfy their reporting obligations. This reporting helps the state track employment data and enforce child support payments.

Employers can report new hires through the Indiana New Hire Reporting Center. Alternatively, they may choose to create their own electronic new hire reports as long as the relevant information is included. Employers are obligated to submit information pertaining to newly hired employees and certain employees who are returning to work within 20 days of the date of hire or re-employment.

Background Checks

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Background checks are an essential part of the hiring process in Indiana. Employers may inquire about criminal backgrounds on job applications and may utilize credit history reports, driving records, and other third-party background checks to inform their employment decisions.

However, employers in Indiana are not permitted to inquire about specific criminal history, such as arrests that did not result in convictions or convictions that have been expunged. Employers in Indiana can contact the Central Records Division of the Indiana State Police Department to obtain a criminal records check, including their criminal records. This helps employers make sure they are providing a safe workplace for their employees.

Anti-Discrimination Laws

Indiana’s anti-discrimination laws play a critical role in promoting fair and inclusive hiring practices. Employers in Indiana must treat all applicants and employees equally. Discrimination based on any criteria is prohibited. This includes harassment based on characteristics such as:

  • race
  • sex
  • age
  • disability
  • religion
  • national origin
  • sexual orientation
  • gender identity

Harassment can take many forms, including verbal, physical, or visual harassment. It is vital to create a working environment that is free from discrimination and harassment. If you believe you have been a victim of discrimination or harassment, it is important to report it to your employer or the appropriate authorities.

Employees who file complaints with the company or government agencies, such as OSHA, are protected from disciplinary or malicious actions in response to their complaints. It is essential for employees to be aware of these protections and for employers to ensure compliance with anti-discrimination laws.

Termination and Final Pay

Termination in Indiana follows the at-will doctrine, as previously discussed in Section 1. Upon termination, employers must provide final pay on the next regularly scheduled pay period, including any unused vacation time. This ensures that employees receive their rightful compensation upon leaving the company.

It is also worth noting that there are no state laws in Indiana that mandate the payment of unused benefits upon termination. However, employers may choose to include such provisions in their employment contracts or company policies.

Employee Benefits

Indiana does not have specific employee benefits laws. However, employers in the state may be subject to federal COBRA regulations for extended health insurance coverage. COBRA, or the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation. The act provides eligible employees and their dependents with the option to continue their health insurance coverage for a period of 18 to 36 months, for which they must pay in full.

It is crucial for both employers and employees to be aware of these federal regulations, as they can impact the benefits provided to employees during their employment and upon termination.

Recordkeeping and Posting Requirements

Employers in Indiana must comply with recordkeeping and posting requirements to ensure transparency and adherence to labor laws. These requirements include maintaining payroll and timekeeping records for a minimum of three years and two years, respectively, as stipulated by federal law.

In addition to recordkeeping, employers in Indiana are obligated to display the necessary posters in the workplace, informing employees of their rights and responsibilities under various labor laws. Compliance with these requirements is essential for employers to avoid potential penalties and maintain a healthy working environment.

Miscellaneous Indiana Employment Laws

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Aside from the previously discussed topics, various Indiana employment laws cover areas such as:

  • whistleblower protection
  • employer use of social media
  • drug and alcohol testing
  • child labor restrictions

These laws provide additional protections and guidance for both employees and employers in the state.

For instance, employees who report illegal or unethical activities are protected from retaliation under whistleblower protection laws. Employers are allowed to view content posted on social media and use it as grounds for termination, but they must comply with regulations regarding drug and alcohol testing and adhere to child labor restrictions.

Staying informed about these diverse laws ensures compliance and fosters a fair, safe, and inclusive work environment.


In conclusion, understanding Indiana employment laws in 2023 is essential for both employees and employers alike. From at-will employment and wage regulations to leave policies and recordkeeping requirements, being informed about these laws can help prevent potential issues and promote a fair and inclusive workplace. As Indiana continues to evolve and adapt its labor laws, staying up-to-date and compliant with these regulations is the key to fostering a healthy and prosperous work environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are my rights as an employee in Indiana?

As an employee in Indiana, I am entitled to be employed free of discrimination and have the right to receive a statement of my hours worked, wages paid, and deductions for each pay period.

Additionally, employers must abide by Indiana’s Minimum Wage Law and provide a safe workplace for their employees.

How long can you work without a break in Indiana?

In Indiana, employers are not required to provide breaks or meal periods, but if they do, the breaks must be less than 20 minutes and paid.

Meal periods are not required to be paid as long as employees are free to do as they wish.

What is the minimum wage in Indiana?

The minimum wage in Indiana is $7.25 per hour.

Are there any exceptions to the at-will employment doctrine in Indiana?

Yes, there are exceptions to the at-will employment doctrine in Indiana, such as public policy, implied contracts, and implied covenants of good faith and fair dealing.

What are the eligibility requirements for family and medical leave in Indiana?

In Indiana, to be eligible for family and medical leave, employees must have worked for the same employer for 12 months and completed 1,500 hours of service during that period.

This requirement ensures that employees have a certain level of commitment to their employer before they can take advantage of the leave.

While we serve most of Indiana, if you’re in the Indianapolis, IN area and are looking for an experienced  child custody attorney to assist you, please feel free to reach out to O’Flaherty Law at:

O'Flaherty law of Indianapolis

22 E. Washington St., Ste. 210A

Indianapolis, IN 46204

(463) 888-9054

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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