philadelphia Minimum Wage and Overtime law firm serving pennsylvania and new jersey
Federal and state laws require employers to pay their workers a minimum wage and to pay overtime to certain employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek. Employers sometimes misclassify employees as being exempt from these overtime requirements, which causes some employees to be underpaid. Misclassification of employees may be intentional or unintentional when an employer does not understand its legal obligations.
Fair Labor Standards Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) is a federal law that establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards affecting both private and public employees.
Employers must pay covered non-exempt workers a minimum wage of not less than $7.25 per hour. An employer may take a “tip credit” toward its minimum wage obligations to employees who regularly receive more than $30.00 a month in tips. The maximum tip credit an employer may take is $5.12 per hour. Tipped employees are also entitled to keep tips, which are considered the employee’s property. Employers may enact “tip pools,” which is a tip sharing arrangement between employees who customarily receive tips. Employers sometimes violate the FLSA by allowing other employees to participate in the tip pool. The FLSA imposes a number of requirements on employers who wish to use the “tip credit.”
Employers must also pay overtime pay to non-exempt workers for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. The overtime rate must be at least 1-1/2 times the employee’s regular rate of pay. Employers often violate this requirement by not paying overtime at all or by paying less than the overtime rate. Executive, administrative, professional, computer, outside sales, and highly compensated employees are exempt from the FLSA’s overtime requirements. There are certain requirements, including a payment of a regular, guaranteed minimum salary ($455.00 per week) and a job duties test, for these exemptions to apply.
One of the most common FLSA violations is misclassification of employees. For example, an employee may pay an employee a salary, mistakenly believing that since the employee is “salaried,” the employee is not entitled to overtime compensation or the employer may label the worker as “administrative” staff to avoid paying overtime. The employee’s job duties, not the employee’s job title or method of payment, are what determine if the employee is exempt from the FLSA’s overtime requirements. Many employees have both exempt and non-exempt duties, leading to potential misclassification. Other common FLSA violations include misclassifying employees as independent contractors and not paying employees for all time worked, including short breaks, on-call time, and time spent working while off the clock.
The FLSA prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who assert their minimum wage and/or overtime rights.
Pennsylvania’s Minimum Wage Act (PMWA) requires that Pennsylvania employers pay a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
The PMWA also requires that employers pay most employees overtime compensation for any hours they work over 40 straight time hours per week. Overtime compensation is 1-1/2 times the employee’s straight time rate of pay.
Other employees may be overtime exempt because they may fall into one or more other exemptions, such as the exemptions for executive, administrative, professional, and outside sales employees. An employee who is exempt under federal law may not be exempt under the PMWA, which provides more overtime pay protection for employees than does the FLSA.
The PMWA’s requirements do not apply to all employees.
New Jersey’s Wage and Hour Law is similar to the FLSA. New Jersey’s minimum wage is $8.60 per hour.
My employer has violated minimum wage and/or overtime laws. What do I do?
If you believe that your employer has not paid all minimum wage and/or overtime that you have earned or that you have been misclassified as an exempt employee, it is vital to contact an employment attorney who can determine your rights and remedies. In addition to unpaid wages, successful employee-plaintiffs may also recover liquidated damages and attorney’s fees. There are strict deadlines for filing wage claims that vary by the circumstances of your situation.
Contact employment lawyer Stephanie J. Mensing of Mensing Law LLC at (215) 586-3751. Ms. Mensing in an employment attorney with extensive experience handling wage violations. Schedule a consultation today to ensure that your rights are protected.