Wage & Overtime
Abramson Labor Group – Wage/Overtime
You expect fair pay. You also expect to be paid for the hours that exceed your normal 40-hour workweek. If you’re not being paid overtime wages, it may be a violation of wage and overtime laws.
Wage and overtime rules are found in the Fair Labor Standards Act. Under the FLSA, employers must pay the federal minimum wage that’s currently at $7.25 (July 2019). There are exceptions to the minimum wage rule. Some states have higher minimum wages than the federal rate. The federal minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.13 (July 2019) providing that employee makes a minimum of $30 a month in tips. If an employer provides a worker with room and board, the value of those can be counted as wages.
The FLSA also regulates overtime pay. Workers who are not exempt are also required to be paid time and a half for work that exceeds more than 40 hours in one workweek. If the worker’s hourly wage is $10, the overtime rate would be $10 plus $5 (50%) for a total of $15. For employees who are paid a per-piece rate, their weekly pay is divided by the hours worked to calculate the hourly rate. Half of that hourly rate is multiplied by the number of hours that exceed 40 to get the overtime pay.
Most salaried workers do not qualify for overtime. People who are paid a fixed salary rarely meet the conditions for receiving overtime because salaries tend to be higher. Salaried employees only get overtime if it’s determined that the extra hours they work would put their salaried rate below minimum wage. For example, if your weekly fixed salary is $300 and you work 50 hours one week instead of your usual 20 hours, your hourly rate would average out at $6. That’s less than the federal minimum wage and overtime would have to be paid.
Additional laws protect your deserved overtime wages when you work in certain industries. The Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act sets the rules for overtime in workers in the construction and service industries. Again, workers in these industries are legally entitled to time and a half for work that exceeds 40 hours in a workweek.
California’s Overtime Laws
California’s labor laws differ slightly from the Fair Labor Standards Act. In California:
- If you work more than 8 hours but less than 12 hours in one workday, you get time and a half.
- If you work more than 12 hours in one workday, you’re paid double your hourly rate.
- If you work 7 consecutive days, you get paid at 1.5 times your hourly rate for your next 8 hours.
- If you work 7 consecutive days, you get double time for the time that exceeds 8 hours that day.
There are exemptions to overtime rules in California. People in administrative or executive jobs do not qualify. People in computer software qualify as professionals. Many jobs in politics are exempt. Outside sales, immediate family of the employer, people who work in a national service program, and drivers are all examples of people who are exempt from the overtime rules.
Retaliation Is Illegal
In addition to the wage and overtime laws, your company cannot retaliate against you. If you ask the Wage and Hour Division to investigate your situation or you ask payroll where your overtime pay is, your employer cannot retaliate. They cannot respond by firing you, demoting you, harassing you, refusing a promotion based on your complaint, or any other retaliatory behavior, you have grounds for another complaint or lawsuit.
Who Handles Complaints
Three agencies within the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) are responsible for the rules of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The DOL’s Wage and Hour Division enforces and administers the laws for several agencies and types of company, including:
- Federal employees with the Library of Congress
- Private employers
- State and local governments
- The Tennessee Valley Authority
- The USPS and the Postal Rate Commission
The U.S. Congress is responsible for employees of the Legislative Branch. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management is responsible for employees of agencies with the Executive Branch.
As many employees are working for private companies, they’ll typically deal with the Wage and Hour Division for wage and overtime complaints. There is a statute of limitations that you must comply with. In most cases, it’s 2 years, but there is a 3-year statute of limitations if the violation was intentional.
If you need to file a complaint, start with your local DOL Wage and Hour Division. They will help you find the forms you need. Bring pay stubs, time cards to show hours worked, and any other proof you have to back up your claim. Once you’ve filed a claim, the Wage and Hour Division will open an investigation.
When you do work overtime, it’s important that you’re paid fairly. If your employer is not abiding by the federal laws, you need to talk to an employment law attorney. You’re due your overtime wages now and not after weeks of begging or negotiating. You may have a valid case for a wage and overtime lawsuit. Schedule a free legal consultation with Abramson Labor Group today.