Understanding the complex and constantly-evolving federal and state wage and hour laws can be daunting. Often, employees fail to seek legal advice from a knowledgeable wage and hour attorney because they incorrectly assume their employer follows the rules and would not try to skirt the law.
However, the reality is that all too often, employers take advantage of their employees by not fully or properly compensating them in violation of federal and state law. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay all non-exempt employees at least the federal minimum wage and 1.5 times his or her regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 each workweek, unless the employer can prove its employees are properly classified as “exempt” from overtime pay. The law requires the employer to satisfy very specific and strict requirements to deny an employee overtime pay as an exempt professional, executive, administrator, intern or some other recognized exemption.
The FLSA also requires employers to keep accurate and complete time records of all employees. Many employers try to skirt the law by paying only for “scheduled” time worked or paying based on an estimated or otherwise inaccurate time. An employer’s failure to keep accurate time records and paying for all time worked can have serious consequences. In such cases, employees are eligible to seek other damages in addition to his or her unpaid wages, including double (or ”liquidated”) damages, back interest, attorneys’ fees and costs.
The United States Department of Labor defines the following:
FLSA MINIMUM WAGE
The federal minimum wage in 2023 is $13.00 per hour, $14.00 per hour in 2024, and $15.00 per hour in 2025. Many states and municipalities also have minimum wage laws which provide for a higher minimum wage. In cases where an employee is subject to both state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the higher minimum wage. Click here to view each state’s minimum wage laws. For tipped employees, click here.
Covered non-exempt employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in any given workweek (any fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours — seven consecutive 24-hour periods) at a rate not less than one and one-half times their regular rate of pay. There is no limit on the number of hours employees 16 years or older may work in any workweek.
Hours worked ordinarily includes all the time during which an employee is required to be on the employer’s premises, on duty, or at a prescribed workplace.
Employers must make and maintain accurate employee time and pay records.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act and several (but not all) state wage laws, an employer may pay an employee “engaged in a tipped occupation” cash wages at a subminimum wage of if they take a “tip credit” using tips received by the employee to make up the difference between this wage and the regular minimum wage. This tip credit is only legal if the tip-pool itself is legal, meaning only other tip-generating employees receive payment from the tip pool.
Having successfully represented hundreds of thousands of employees across the country, we at Stephan Zouras are nationally-recognized leaders in recovering unpaid minimum and overtime wages under federal and state law. We help you understand your rights and pursue recovery on your behalf.