Approved by Congress in 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provided the foundation for basic worker’s rights. This legislation established that a regular workweek would consist of 40 hours, at 8 hours each day. Also, overtime work must be paid at one-and-a-half times regular pay. The FLSA also established a minimum wage and restricted child labor.
The minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour, although many states have enacted higher minimum wage requirements. For instance, California’s minimum wage was raised to $9.00 per hour as of July 1, 2014. Some jobs, such as servers or waiters, operate under a tipped rate, which is lower than the standard. However, if a server’s tips do not add up to minimum wage, the employer is required to make up the difference.
The period of “work” that an employee is required to be compensated for has been, in part, set out by the Department of Labor. This includes employees who are waiting on their work assignments, such as a secretary waiting on revisions to come back from her boss. A refinery worker who is required to remain “on call” on the employer’s premises is also working. It is not uncommon for workers to fail to capture all of their work hours. Be sure to review the Department of Labor website for more instances of “work” as defined by the Act.
Overtime, as defined by the FLSA, is any amount of time worked over 40 hours in a workweek. This extra time must be paid at 1.5 times regular pay, meaning that if an employee is normally paid $10.00 per hour, any hours past 40 must be paid at a rate of $15.00 per hour. Managerial, supervisory and executive-level positions are exempt from this rule, but these exceptions are strictly defined by the legislation.
Some employers attempt to avoid paying overtime by misclassifying workers as supervisors or managers, despite the actual work they perform or the fact that they aren’t paid supervisor or managerial salaries. This is a violation of Federal law and grounds for legal action.
Any employer who fails to uphold the regulations set down by the FLSA is subject to legal action, including claims from employees seeking the overtime wages owed. The legislation behind the FLSA can be complex, and if you have suffered due to an employer failing to pay you appropriately, the attorneys of The Law Office of Mynor E. Rodriguez P.C. can help you hold your employer accountable.