We understand the painful situation of being asked to work overtime but not being paid for it. If you are like many people, a 40-hour week is plenty of work time and already keeps you away from family and friends more than you would like. When you are asked to work overtime as well, it often creates more stress than you really want to deal with. The least you should be able to expect is appropriate pay for your overtime.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets basic minimum wage and overtime pay standards that affect most private and public employment. These standards are enforced by The United States Department of Labor's (DOL) Wage and Hour Division, which is a program of the Employment Standards Administration.
Workers who are covered by the FLSA are required to be paid at least one and one-half times their regular rate of pay after 40 hours of work in a workweek, which is defined as 168 consecutive hours, and are entitled to a minimum wage of at least $5.85 per hour effective July 24, 2007. The FLSA, however, does not require sick leave, severance pay, holidays, or vacations.
While there are FLSA exemptions for specific types of businesses or work, the following types of workers are automatically eligible for overtime pay:
- Manual laborers and other “blue collar” workers
- Fast responders such as fire fighters, police officers and paramedics
- Licensed practical nurses
Some states have laws that require wages, commissions, and fringe benefits for employees that are in excess of the FLSA standards. In such cases in which a worker is subject to both federal and state minimum wage laws, he or she is entitled to the higher of the two.
Over time, a few reprehensible employers have searched for ways to exploit workers by circumventing FLSA standards. After August 2004, for example, when lawmakers established the types of jobs that are exempt from overtime requirements, some of these employers arbitrarily "reclassified" jobs to avoid having to pay for overtime work. Other employers had their employees work off the clock or take uncompensated "breaks". Yet other employers retained the last paycheck of employees who no longer worked for them.
These practices are not only against federal and most state laws, they deny income to those who are among the hardest workers in our society - the very people whose families depend the most on such income for their subsistence. And, unfortunately, most employees who are victimized by these practices do not seek restitution for fear of being fired until they are wrongly terminated and are in the stressful position of seeking other employment and/or are forced to file for unemployment compensation to continue paying the family's bills.
A capable labor attorney should be understanding of a wronged worker who has been placed in such a situation, as well as having the necessary skills to bring FLSA and local labor cases to a successful resolution. By pursuing your rights under these laws, you not only stand the chance to be compensated, you may also well be helping put an end to exploitative practices that allow shameless employers to hurt the families of the hard working citizens who allow our society to prosper.
If you or a loved one feel you have had your labor rights violated, please contact us. We will help you find a labor attorney near you who can help you recover the financial compensation to which you are entitled.