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Wage and Hour Investigation Positions
Significant Points

This series covers positions which supervise, lead, or perform work involving:

  • conducting on-site investigations to obtain compliance by employers with wage and hour and related laws;
  • establishing, revising, and interpreting wage and hour program policies and guidelines; and/or
  • evaluating enforcement operations.
  • Work requires:

  • knowledge of related laws;
  • an understanding of business organizations, records systems, and practices related to the laws administered; and
  • the skill to apply varied investigative techniques to obtain compliance, including on-site questioning of employees and employers, negotiation and conciliation, instruction, persuasion, and litigation.
  • Nature of the Work

    The basic titles for positions in this series are:

    Wage and Hour Investigator - Work involving investigations of agricultural operations; commercial, construction, industrial, and other business establishments; public institutions; and domestic service in households for compliance with wage and hour and related laws.

    Wage and Hour Specialist - Work involving developing policies, guidelines, and regulations regarding compliance with wage and hour and related laws.

    General Occupational Information

    Wage and hour investigative work covers a variety of labor laws and regulations. These include minimum or prevailing wage rates, overtime pay requirements, child labor restrictions, exemption coverage, employment eligibility, family and medical leave, work visas, housing and transportation inspection in agriculture, and other employment issues in agricultural, commercial, construction, industrial, and other business establishments, public institutions, and domestic service in households. Investigators also consider the jurisdiction of various agencies, decisions and precedent-setting cases involving labor laws, and industry practices.

    Wage and hour investigators, acting on complaints or leads, visit employers and supervisors in State and local government entities and industrial, commercial, agricultural, construction, service, and other business establishments to determine whether the employer has violated applicable laws and regulations. Investigators:

  • interview employers or employer representatives;
  • reconstruct events, sequences, and time elements and determine relationships, responsibilities, legal liabilities, and conflicts of interest;
  • observe work operations;
  • review business records and payrolls; and
  • interview current and former employees.
  • If violations are substantiated, investigators may negotiate with the employer to take appropriate action to remedy the violation and to work towards adherence to laws in the future, including paying any back wages or civil monetary penalties due. The majority of investigations are concluded independently by investigators, without requiring litigation. When voluntary compliance with wage and labor laws cannot be negotiated, investigators recommend civil or criminal action. They assist in prosecuting willful violators, working closely with the U.S. Attorney's Office and testifying in court or before a grand jury.

    Individual Occupational Requirements


    Undergraduate Education: Major study -- any field.

    Graduate Education: Major study -- industrial relations, personnel administration, or other fields related to the position such as business administration, labor economics, or law.



    General Experience (for GS-5 positions): Experience that demonstrated the ability to understand legal provisions, regulations, and general principles and concepts, and to apply them to specific situations; to analyze verbal and numerical data, draw conclusions, and make decisions; and to present information or conclusions in clear oral and/or written language.

    Specialized Experience:

    For GS-7 positions: Applicants must meet at least two of the following three specialized criteria requirements:

    • General knowledge of Federal wage and hour labor laws, industrial occupations, wage scales, employment practices, or salary and wage administration practices.
    • Skill in analyzing written/verbal information and numerical data and making decisions on issues based on interviews, records review, reconstruction of missing or fraudulent records and applying legal or regulatory provisions, precedents, and principles to specific investigative matters.
    • Skill in personal contacts requiring the ability to explain requirements or rights and obtain information and cooperation from people with diverse backgrounds and levels of understanding, reconcile conflicting interests, and persuade others to comply voluntarily with requirements.

    For positions at GS-9 and above: In addition to the criteria specified above for GS-7, applicants must have knowledge of and ability to apply the provisions of Federal wage and hour labor laws pertaining to wages, hours of work, or related conditions of employment.

    Examples of qualifying specialized experience include:

    • Developing, interpreting, or applying policies, procedures, and operating standards in determining compliance for an organization or government-based program.
    • Conducting interviews and providing information about laws and/or regulations.
    • Industrial personnel or salary and wage administration or responsible work in a certified public accounting firm.
    • Analyzing or applying labor legislation.
    • Reviewing and evaluating operations and procedures through analysis, audits, or surveillance inspections.
    • Federal, State, or self-regulatory agency work involving obtaining compliance with appropriate program requirements.
    Additional Sources

    Information on obtaining Wage and Hour Investigator positions with the Federal Government is available from the Office of Personnel Management through USAJOBS, the Federal Government's official employment information system. This resource for locating and applying for job opportunities can be accessed through the Internet at or through an interactive voice response telephone system at (703) 724–1850 or  (703) 724–1850  or TDD (978) 461–8404 and   (978) 461–8404. These numbers are not toll free, and charges may result. For advice on how to find and apply for Federal jobs, download the Insider's Guide to the Federal Hiring Process” online here.

    Source: OPM's Position Classification Standards for White Collar Work

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