Fair Labor Standards Act Requirements

By Joy Rhyne Webb, Attorney at Law

Many employers do not understand the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and therefore end up illegally underpaying their employees.

The FLSA requires that all employees be paid at least the minimum wage when they work, and at least one and a half times their usual rate of pay for hours worked that exceed forty in one work week. A state may set its own minimum wage higher than the federal wage, which is currently $7.25 per hour, but it may not set the minimum wage at a lower amount.

Violations of the FLSA are best handled by a wage and hour attorney, who knows how the laws apply in your state, as well as how to best handle your case to get the desired outcome.

One common mistake that employers make is classifying employees as “salaried” and failing to pay them overtime. Being paid a set salary is only one of three requirements that must be met before an employee may be considered exempt from the FLSA. The employee also must be paid at least $455 per week, and he or she must perform specific exempt job duties. These duties typically are executive or managerial in nature, but can also be a professional position that requires special education or licensing, such as a lawyer or doctor. All other employees must be paid for all hours worked, even if designated as salaried.

Another common mistake that goes along with this is where an employer pays employees a salary, refuses overtime, yet deducts for time missed from work. An employee is either exempt or not; if he is exempt, he receives the same pay whether he works one hour in the week or 100 hours. The employer may not receive the benefits of both an exempt and a non-exempt employee. Otherwise, he must pay overtime for any hours that exceed forty in one week, even if time off is given during the same pay period.

One other thing to watch for is if your employer is giving employees flex time, or compensatory time, instead of overtime pay. An employer may only give an employee time off in lieu of overtime pay if the time off is given in the same week as the extra hours.

Tipped employees must be paid at least $2.13 per hour. If an employee’s tips are not sufficient to make up the difference between the minimum wage and the tip wage, the employer must pay the employee that difference so that the employee receives at least the minimum wage for all hours worked.

If your employer has not paid you for all hours worked, or has shorted you on overtime, contact a Raleigh wage and hour attorney today for a consultation.

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