July 24, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
July 24, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Is Your Employer Taking the Edge Off Your Paycheck?

Wage and hour law has experienced many changes in recent years, and it can be hard for workers to understand just what they are entitled to, and it can be just as difficult for employers to stay up to date on what is required of them. There are a myriad of ever-changing laws that both employers and employees must be aware of.

In the United States, workers are protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Provisions of FLSA include child labor laws, the 40-hour workweek as a standard, requirements for overtime pay, and the federal minimum wage. The FLSA was enacted with the best intentions, so that workers would have the opportunity to achieve a good work-life balance. Unfortunately, some employers cut corners when it comes to various requirements of the FLSA. Some things that occur in many workplaces include:

Management asking employees to work off the clock

Management taking part of their employees’ tips

Misclassifying employees as exempt when their position is not advanced enough to claim this status

Asking employees to run errands on the way home, off the clock, or doing extra work at home off the clock

Having employees dress into uniforms before and after their shift, while they are off the clock

Automatically deducting breaks, even when they aren’t taken

Not paying overtime after 40 hours of work in a workweek

Exempt status is reserved for, among others, those in professional fields, like doctors or lawyers, management, administrative and salespeople who sell off site. It is important to note that your job title is much less important than what your actual duties are. Some employers will give the title of “manager” in the hopes that the employee will think they are exempt. If the employee’s job duties are not managerial in nature, the “managerial exemption” will likely not apply. Salaries and/or commissions for these employees are generally higher than lower-level workers, and much higher than tipped workers, whose minimum wage is far less than it is for other employees. Whether you’re working a summer job to pay for a family vacation or diligently working hard at a position just to make ends meet, your job is important and you deserve to be compensated fully for what you do. The FLSA was enacted to protect workers from abusive employment practices. Employees who are short-changed what they are owed have the option of filing a complaint with the Department of Labor or by filing a lawsuit in court. The FLSA requires employers who violate proper pay practice to pay the short-changed employee not only his unpaid damages but liquidated damages equal to 100 percent of the actual damages. In some cases an employee can even get liquidated damages under both federal and state law.

In New York State, another issue to watch for is the minimum wage, which is in the process of a gradual increase which will put the hourly amount at $9 per hour by December 31, 2015. Lower minimum wages are allowed for service workers who are tipped in addition to their regular paycheck, so long as those tips put their hourly wage above the minimum wage. Employers are required to keep employees informed about changes in minimum wage laws so they can understand their rights. Additionally, New York State law requires employers to provide pay stubs to their employees on pay day. These pay stubs must contain certain information about the employee’s pay, such as, among other items, the amount of hours worked (for hourly employees); amount of withholding; pay rate and overtime rate.

Michael Samuel is a New York City-based attorney handling wage and hour cases on behalf of employees and employers.

By Michael Samuel

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles