Wage and overtime are perhaps two of the most important employment law topics from the perspective of a worker. Workers want to know that they are properly compensated for time spent working. They may also be concerned about how to file a complaint in the event their wage and overtime rights are violated.

When laws are properly observed, wage and overtime issues are seldom a problem, but when the laws are violated, these issues loom large for workers forced to forfeit adequate pay for the time and energy expended at work.

Where Does Wage and Overtime Law Originate?

Wage and overtime laws originate in the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The country’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) handles the enforcement of the FLSA and oversees proper handling of a number of other measures as well including child labor and unemployment insurance. The Wage and Hour Division is a smaller part of the Department of Labor which ensures adherence of all federal labor laws.

Receiving Adequate Wages

The FLSA sets basic federal minimum wage standards. Current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. However, some states and municipalities are currently considering increases. For instance, Seattle recently increased its minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Although the FLSA sets the federal minimum wage, it does not cover other wage issues such as severance pay. It merely ensures that every employer must abide by a general rule for the least amount of wages a worker must receive. For workers who make more than $30 per month in tips, the minimum wages is $2.13. If the minimum wage standard is not properly observed, an employer could be liable for back pay of up to 2-3 years, depending on the circumstances of the case.

Receiving Proper Overtime Pay

The general rule for overtime is that overtime pay must not be less than one and a half times regular pay. Generally, overtime pay kicks in for any amount of time spent working beyond the regular 40-hour work week. However, it is important to note that not all workers are eligible for overtime pay. For instance, salaried workers are generally not eligible. Additionally, certain businesses and industries are exempt from the overtime pay rules outlined in the FLSA.

Wage and Overtime Complaints

Wage and overtime issues arise when an employer fails or refuses to compensate a wage worker for time spent working. In these cases, there are two ways an employee can address the issue: 1) file a complaint 2) file a lawsuit.

Wage and overtime complaints are filed with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. Over 200 WHD offices around the country offer free and confidential assistance for filing wage and overtime complaints. The complaint forms often must be accompanied by additional documentation such as pay stubs and personal records of hours worked. The complaint may initiate an investigation and conclude with a determination by the Division based on the information presented and gathered.

In addition to filing a complaint, an employee may also file suit against an employer in a court of law. The purpose of a suit of this nature is to recover back pay or lost wages due to the employer’s violation of wage and overtime laws. When violations are found, employees are eligible to receive compensation for up to 2 years of back pay or 3 years if the violation was willful.

Don’t Let Wage and Overtime Issues Go Unaddressed

Don’t let wage and overtime issues go unaddressed. If you think your rights have been violated, contact Shegerian & Associates today. Our team of expert employment law specialists are ready to assist you with the expert legal assistance you need to bring your dispute to a successful close.