The Fair Labor Standards Act establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping, and youth employment standards for qualifying employees. This federal law requires employers to pay non-exempt employees a minimum hourly wage plus one and one half times that rate for all hours worked over forty in a week. Many employers do not understand these provisions, and some simply ignore them. While there are many exceptions to the rule, employers are generally required to comply with the following:
As of July 24, 2009, qualifying workers are entitled to a minimum wage of not less than $7.25 per hour. If your employer only pays you $5.00 per hour, you may be entitled to your unpaid wages, liquidated damages in an equal amount, and attorney’s fees. But if your employer pays you $250 per week and you work 40 hours, your hourly rate averages to $6.25 per hour, and you may be entitled to damages as well.
Qualifying employees must also be paid overtime pay of at least one and one-half times the regular rate of pay (i.e. “time and a half”) for every hour of work over 40 in a workweek. For example, a qualifying employee whose regular rate of pay is $10.00 per hour must be paid $15.00 per hour for each hour they work over 40 in a week. Contrary to popular belief, there is no limit on the number of hours employees 16 years or older may work in any workweek, much less does the FLSA require overtime pay for work on weekends, holidays, or regular days of rest, unless overtime is worked on such days.
The FLSA also protects employees from retaliation for seeking proper payment under the law. The FLSA protects employees regardless of whether the complaint is made orally or in writing. Many actions an employee takes related to this law are protected, including making a complaint, instituting any proceeding under or related to the FLSA (filing a lawsuit, for example), and testifying in any such proceeding. Most courts have ruled that internal complaints to an employer are protected – so complaining to your employer about not being paid minimum wage or overtime will most likely be protected, meaning that your employer cannot retaliate against you for doing so by firing you, demoting you, or docking your pay (among other things).
If you believe your employer has not paid you all the wages you are entitled to receive, contact us, we can help.