Wage and Hour Laws in Georgia | Current Georgia Labor Laws


Minimum Wage

Georgia’s current minimum wage rate is $5.15.

Georgia minimum wage law does not apply to employees who must adhere to the Fair Labor Standards Act when it necessitates a business to pay a minimum wage that is more than Georgia state’s minimum wage. 

These minimum wage laws also don’t apply to businesses with five employees or less, employers of domestic employees, employers with total sales at or under $40,000 per year, or businesses that qualify as sharecroppers, land renters, or farm owners. For employees paid through tips and gratuities, the minimum wage in Georgia is $2.13 per hour.

For more information on Georgia’s minimum wage laws, visit our Georgia Minimum Wage Laws page, which includes topics such as minimum wage, tip minimum wage, tip sharing and pooling, and subminimum wages.

Related topic covered on other pages include:


Overtime

Georgia labor laws do not have laws governing the payment of overtime. Federal law requires employers to pay overtime to employees who work more than 40 hours per week.

GA Dept. of Labor FAQ. See FLSA: Overtime for more information regarding overtime requirements.


Prevailing Wages

Georgia does not have a prevailing wage law that governs wage rates on government projects or service contracts.

Under certain circumstances, employers in Georgia may be required to pay residents wage rates established by federal prevailing wage rates and rules. The prevailing wage rates may be different from the federal and state’s standard minimum wage rates.

Employees may be eligible for prevailing wages if they work on government or government-funded construction projects or perform certain government services. See the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act (SCA), and Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act (PCA) for more information about prevailing wages.


Meals and Breaks

Georgia labor laws do not have any laws requiring an employer to provide a meal period or breaks to employees, thus the federal rule applies. The federal rule does not require an employer to provide either a meal (lunch) period or breaks.

However, if an employer chooses to do so, breaks, usually of the type lasting less than 20 minutes, must be paid. Meal or lunch periods (usually 30 minutes or more) do not need to be paid, so long as the employee is free to do as they wish during the meal or lunch period. DOL: Breaks and Meal Periods.


Nursing Mother Breaks

Georgia labor laws require employers to provide employees who are nursing mothers with reasonable breaks times to express breast milk unless:

  • the employer has fewer than 50 employees and
  • doing so would create an undue hardship on the operations of the employer

Employers must pay employees who are not paid on a salary basis at their regular rate of compensation for the time taken by employees to express milk unless the employees are working away from any of the employer’s worksites. For employees paid on a salary basis, employers may not require employees to use paid leave or reduce the employees’ salary for taking nursing breaks during the workday.

Employers must provide nursing mother employees with private locations where nursing mothers may express breast milk. Bathrooms do not meet the minimum standards for the nursing mothers’ location.

Whether an employer will suffer an undue hardship involves how significant the difficulty or expense of meeting the legal standard for nursing mother breaks will be related to such factors as:

  • the size of the business
  • its financial resources
  • the nature and structure of its operation

GA Statute 34-1-6


Vacation Leave

In Georgia, employees are not required to give vacation benefits to workers. This applies to both paid and unpaid vacations. However, if an employer provides vacation benefits, they must comply with all terms established in the employment contract or vacation leave policy. 

Moreover, employers can lawfully establish policies that deny employees payment for accrued vacation leave upon the end of the contract or separation from employment. 

However, if an employer has an established contract that requires the employer to pay accrued vacation time upon the end of the contract or end of employment, the employer is legally obligated to adhere to this contract. In addition, an employer in Georgia may implement a use-it or lose-it policy.

Information about Georgia vacation leave laws may now be found on our Georgia Leave Laws page.


Sick Leave

Georgia does not require its employers to give employees any sort of sick leave, whether unpaid or paid. However, if a business provides sick leave allowances, it must adhere to all conditions in the employment contract or established sick leave policy. However, it may be necessary to provide employees with unpaid sick leave according to federal laws and the Family and Medical Leave Act. 

Information about Georgia sick leave laws may now be found on our Georgia Leave Laws page.


Holiday Leave

Under state law, employers in Georgia are not required to provide unpaid or paid holiday leave to their employees. Employers may require that their employees work during holiday hours.

However, private employers are not required to pay their employees additional pay, such as 1.5 times the standard payment, for working during holidays unless these holiday hours also qualify for overtime hours set out by federal overtime laws.

However, if a place of employment provides these unpaid or paid holiday leave benefits, they must adhere to all terms established in the employment contract or holiday leave policy. In addition, there are Georgia state holidays that apply.

Information about Georgia holiday leave laws may now be found on our Georgia Leave Laws page.


Jury Duty Leave

Employers in Georgia must allow employees time off for jury duty, as it is a legal requirement. However, no official laws state that employers must pay their employees for the time taken off for jury duty. 

However, it is illegal for an employer in Georgia to discipline, penalize, or discharge an employee for answering a jury duty summons. Threatening an employee with discipline for attending jury duty is a legal offense.

Information about Georgia jury duty leave laws may now be found on our Georgia Leave Laws page.


Voting Leave

Although Georgia state employers don’t have to pay voting leave to their employees, employers must give workers time off to vote. If an employee gives reasonable notice for this time off, and if the polls are not open for at least two hours before the employee’s shift begins or after the shift ends, an employer must provide at least two hours of leave for voting.

Information about Georgia voting leave laws may now be found on our Georgia Leave Laws page.


Severance Pay

Georgia labor laws do not require employers to provide employees with severance pay. Dept. of Labor FAQ: Severance. If an employer chooses to provide severance benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.


Unemployment

Under certain circumstances, Georgia residents may be eligible for unemployment benefits while they search for another job. You are required to certify that you are unemployed on a weekly basis to receive these benefits.

To qualify for unemployment benefits in Georgia, you must have earned wages In at least two quarters during the base period. In addition, the total wages during this time must equal or exceed 1 1/2 times the wages earned in the highest quarter. 

Moreover, you must be willing to, able, and ready to work, and you must be actively seeking employment. If you lost your job due to your fault, you will not qualify. Only those who lost their job through no fault of their own will be eligible for unemployment benefits in Georgia.

See Georgia State Unemployment Benefits.


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We hope you find our newsletters help you better navigate employment and labor law issues.