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In this blog post, we will look at: laws that apply to overtime pay, how employers cheat workers out of overtime pay, and what you can do if your employer is breaking the overtime-pay laws.
What does the law say?
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) governs how employers are required to pay employees. The FLSA covers a variety of areas, minimum wage, overtime, recordkeeping, and child labor. State and local laws also can apply to how workers are paid.
The FLSA says that most workers must be paid time-and-a-half for hours worked 40 hours in a week. For example, if you are paid $10 an hour and you worked 45 hours in one week, you should be paid $10 per hour for the first 40 hours and then $15 per hour for the last five hours.
(In Maryland, as of January 1, 2018, the minimum wage is $9.25 per hour, with automatic increases if the federal minimum wage rises.)
How do employers cheat employees?
There are three main ways that employers cheat their employees out of overtime pay.
- Ignore the laws altogether and simply do not pay time-and-a-half for hours worked beyond 40 hours in a week.
- Classify workers as being exempt from the overtime rules. Some jobs are not entitled to overtime. This includes people who serve in executive, administrative and professional roles. If you do not work in one of those roles, then it is likely you are entitled to overtime.
- Classify workers as independent contractors. Many people who are classified as contractors should be treated as employees.
In addition, some employers require that employees to work "off the clock" in a variety of ways.
What can you do about it?
Overtime laws can seem very complicated. If you believe your employer is cheating you out of overtime pay, it's important to contact an attorney who has experience with making employers obey the wage and hour laws.
*This information on this blog is not nor is it intended be legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your particular situation.