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Getting the Pay You Deserve

Posted by Kira Fonteneau | Feb 20, 2018 | 0 Comments

Everyone knows about overtime. If you work more than 40 hours, you get overtime, right? Not necessarily. There are a lot of exceptions to overtime rules. In general, however, federal law offers some solid protections. Here is a brief look at the ways federal labor laws protect your wages.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), workers have a right to be paid for their work. Below are just a few of the specific details. Remember, though, labor laws do not apply to all workers equally, and they do not apply to all industries. There are a lot of exceptions that are just too specific to discuss here. So, if you suspect your employer is breaking the rules, talk to a Birmingham wage and overtime lawyer right away.

Minimum Wage

Federal law requires that employees not be paid less than minimum wage. Currently, $7.25 is the federal minimum wage.  Most states have a minimum wage that exceeds the federal standard. You can compare state minimum wage to see how your state stacks up.  In those locations, workers must be paid the higher amount. Alabama does not have a minimum wage.

Consider that according to a U.S. Inflation Calculator, inflation has increased by about 14.3% since 2009. Alabama's minimum wage has remained the same.

Overtime

Federal law also requires that certain classes of workers must receive ‘time and a half' for any work over 40 hours in a given seven-day period. The rule can be a bit complicated, so you can also visit the Department of Labor to read more. In general, though, there is no requirement to pay overtime simply due to weekends, nightshifts, or holidays, unless it exceeds the 40-hour rule.

Hours Worked

Sometimes employers get sneaky to get around overtime rules. They may try to get employees to perform ‘administrative' tasks or log off for required breaks. Others may require workers to do a host of preparatory tasks, such as maintenance or clean up duties, all off the clock. The Department of Labor offers a simple FACT SHEET to help you better understand the nuance behind the rules. Of course, the best way to know if your employer is violating your rights is to talk to a local Birmingham employment attorney.

Recordkeeping

Imagine trying to prove your employer has been withholding money for years, including overtime pay.  You claim the company makes you spend 30 minutes before and after your shift doing various tasks that are not compensated. You and your attorney determine that this is a violation of the law, and you wish to make a claim for your lost income. It would be easy for the employer to simply lie and say there is no record of your hours. To prevent this, FLSA requires employers to maintain accurate records of hours worked and wages paid.

Child Labor Protections

As of the year 1900, 18% of American workers were under 18, according to a story by the History Channel. Many children were starved, worked long hours, and used to extremely dangerous, yet low-paid work. In 1938, with the passage of FLSA, strict compliance rules were put in place to prevent this.

Today, children under 14 may only work in limited jobs, such as newspaper delivery and periodic babysitting. At 14 or 15, a teenager can work a little more, but no more than three hours on a school day. The law allows gradually more work as a child gets older. For detailed resources, the Department of Labor maintains a special website to help children, their families, and employers to make sure they are in compliance.

Get Answers Today

It would be impossible to discuss here all the potential scenarios that could lead to wage violations. The easiest and most accurate way to address a potential problem with an employer is to contact an experienced attorney who understands the applicable state and federal laws in detail. Contact Kira Fonteneau today to discuss your situation and get real answers now.

About the Author

Kira Fonteneau

Partner and Managing Attorney of the Alabama Trial Practice Group at Barrett & Farahany Kira Fonteneau is a partner and the managing attorney of the Alabama trial group of Barrett & Farahany. Kira chose to specialize in employment law because she wanted to help employees take back power. ...

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