Wage and Hour Laws – Your Rights

For both employees and employers in the United States, being aware of the state and federal laws regarding employee wages and hours is critical; a breach of the law could result in penalties for an employer, and an employee may seek damages if their rights are violated. At the law offices of Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, we can help you to understand your rights as an employee in the United States, and represent you if you have a wage or hour dispute.

What Are Federal Wage and Hour Laws?

Wage and hour laws are laws that govern how much an employee can legally work, and how employees must be paid for the work that they perform. There are federal wage and hour laws, as well as state wage and hour laws. While states must always adhere to federal laws at a very minimum, they can enact more protections and benefits for workers that employees must adhere to. For example, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, and no employers in any state can pay a wage that is less than this. However, the minimum wage is much higher in some states, and employers in these states must pay the state minimum wage.

Federal wage and hour laws are addressed in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). If you have questions about wage and hour laws that are specific to your state, call our law firm today. We work in states across the country.

Important Federal Wage and Hour Laws Under FLSA

The FLSA addresses many issues related to wages and hours, including:

  • Minimum hourly wage;
  • Hours worked;
  • Travel time;
  • Time off;
  • Overtime;
  • Exempt and nonexempt employees;
  • Tipped wages;
  • Training time;
  • On-call time; and
  • The number of items contained with the FLSA is numerous, and if you have a specific issue that you are unsure about, you should call an attorney.

Most wage and hour claim disputes are in regards to hourly pay and minimum wage, or overtime pay.

  • Overtime pay. As found in the act and explained by the Department of Labor, most employers who require most employees to work overtime are required to pay overtime. Overtime pay is required when an employee works over 40 hours per week (with the exception of exempt employees). The rate at which employees are compensated for overtime must be no less than time and one-half of their regular pay. For example, if an employee earns $10 an hour, they must earn $15 ($10 plus .5 x $10) for every hour of work performed over 40 hours.
  • Hours worked. The basics of the FLSA in regards to hours worked require that employees be paid at least minimum wage, and cannot work for more than 40 hours per week without receiving overtime pay. If an employee is “on call” at the employer’s premises, this is considered to be working time that should be compensated; if they are “on call” at home, this is generally not considered to be working time unless there are additional constraints. Short rest periods of around 20 minutes are typically considered work time, and are compensated as such. Long rest or meal periods (30 minutes or more) do not have to be compensated by the employer. Training must be compensated if it is during normal work hours, is not voluntary, is job-related, or/and if it involves the performance of any work.
  • Not all workers are protected by the same standards listed above; there are some exempted workers. For example, there is an exemption from the minimum wage requirement and the hours worked requirement for employees who are “bona fide executive, administrative, professional and outside sales employees.” There are also exemptions for certain computer employees. If you think that your rights under the FLSA have been violated, it is important to know what type of employee you are and whether or not federal law exempts you from protections.


Call Napoli Shkolnik PLLC Today to Learn More About Your Rights

The laws regarding hours and wages can be complicated, and employers may take advantage of the complex nature of the laws to knowingly deny employees benefits that they’re entitled to, such as compensation for overtime hours. If you think that your rights have been breached, our legal team can help. Contact us today a for a free case evaluation – we have offices nationwide.