The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was put in place to protect citizens who do not receive pay for overtime or other rightfully earned wages. Under the Act, most employees have a right to be paid for all hours that they have “suffered or permitted to work.” The Act also mandates that employees, even those who are paid in tips, be paid no less than minimum wage.
The Fair Labor Standards Act was enacted in 1938, protecting workers’ rights for more than 70 years. Under the Act, covered employees have minimum wage protections and rights to receive overtime compensation for hours worked over 40 hours in a work week.
Many companies look for ways in which to avoid FLSA mandates, a violation of the Act. Workers whose employers do not pay minimum wage, overtime, or all hours worked may be in violation of the FLSA. The lawyers at Parker Waichman LLP offer free lawsuit evaluations to any employee who has allegedly been denied his or her rightful pay. To learn more about filing an FLSA lawsuit, or other claim, please contact the lawyers at Parker Waichman LLP today.
What is Considered Work Time
Under the FLSA, working extra hours, spending time at the place of employment to prepare for work, and attending mandatory training sessions and meetings are all generally considered work time. If your employer has failed to pay you minimum wage, overtime, or for all hours worked, these may be a violation of the FLSA and employees may be entitled to file an FLSA lawsuit to collect back pay and other damages.
Worker rights advocacy groups and other experts feel there are very possibly thousands of workers who are unaware of the protections to which they are entitled under wage laws.
Generally, employees—hourly, commissioned, salaried, or piece rate workers—have the right to receive pay for overtime hours worked under the FLSA. Under the FLSA, employees must be paid one and one-half times their regular hourly rate of pay for all hours worked that exceed 40 hours during any work week.
Some workers such as executives, professionals, and seasonal employees may be exempt from receiving overtime pay; however, being paid a salary does not exempt an employee from receiving overtime pay. It is the job duties that determine exemption. Employees paid less than $23,600 per year, or $455 weekly, are automatically entitled to overtime pay, regardless of their jobs or if their pay is considered a salary.
Under the FLSA, an employer must pay his or her employees for all hours worked and may not mandate any worker to work off the clock. This includes preparation time to change into a uniform or protective gear that is kept at the place of work and must be donned before starting the job. The employer must pay for this preparation time.
If an employee must attend mandatory training sessions or off-hour meetings, his or her employer must pay for this time. Employees must also be paid for any break under 20 minutes.
Various Types of Wages
All non-exempt employees must be paid at least the minimum wage, according to the FLSA. Also, specific rules are applicable to the minimum wage and overtime pay paid to employees who work as tipped employees. This includes servers, waiters, bartenders, or busboys.
Tipped employees may be paid a minimum amount per hour. If an employee’s tips, when combined with the cash wage, do not equal the applicable minimum wage, the employer is required to pay the difference.
An independent contractor (1099 contractor) is a legal and tax-related term used in the United States that refers to a worker who contracts his or her services to a business or businesses. Independent contractors are not employees of the businesses with which they work and are, rather, considered as self-employed.
To be legally classified as an independent contractor under the FLSA, the contractor must be able to control the manner and means in which to complete his or her work, provide his or her own tools and equipment, and establish his or her own work schedule.
The FLSA also regulates how youth are employed regarding the type of work youth are permitted to perform and their wages. Generally, the FLSA sets 14 years of age as the minimum age for employment and places a limit on the number of hours worked by minors under the age of 16.
The Act also mandates employers to display an official poster outlining the requirements of the FLSA and to maintain employee time and pay records.
When a worker believes his or her employer violated the FLSA, a lawsuit may be brought for back pay, an equal amount as liquidated damages, and attorney’s fees and court costs.
Some examples of the ways in which employers may violate the FLSA include failing to pay workers for time spent at the workplace for putting on required uniforms, equipment, or safety gear; for time spent waiting for computers to boot up or shut down when log-in and -out time-keeping software is used; for having to use smart phones for work-related communications; for time spent traveling between job assignments; for work performed at home or off the work site that is unreported; for calculated commissions and bonuses using the overtime pay rate; for the proper overtime rate for work over 40 hours per week; for state-mandated rest breaks; for providing required meal periods; and for providing earned wages and vacation time within 24 hours of termination.
Other violations include giving off time in lieu; compensatory time; and compensatory time to private sector workers, a type of work schedule arrangement that enables workers to take time off instead of, or in addition to, receiving overtime pay.
Employers may not misclassify workers as independent contractors and may not classify a non-exempt employee as an exempt employee by misclassifying workers as executives, administrators, professionals, outside sales people, or independent contractors. Also when tips are split or pooled, these arrangements may only be permitted among employees who customarily and regularly receive tips and these workers may not be required to share their tips with non-tipped employees.
A tip is the sole property of the tipped employee and the employer is not permitted to keep a portion of the tips. Employers are not permitted to tell employees that they are not entitled to receive overtime pay for an array of improper reasons, including that employees did not obtain approval in advance and that they are paid on a salaried basis.
Questions Concerning Overtime and Wage Law
The attorneys Parker Waichman have a long history of successfully fighting overtime and wage law cases for their clients. If you or someone you know has suffered losses that fall under overtime or wage law, the firm offers legal consultations about filing a lawsuit.
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