Houston Wage and Hour Lawyer
Approved by Congress in 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) laid the foundation for basic worker’s rights and the structure of the workweek. This legislation established that a regular workweek would consist of 40 hours, at 8 hours each day. In addition, it states that any overtime work must be paid at one-and-a-half times regular pay, as well as establishing a minimum wage and restricting child labor.
The minimum wage was established by the FLSA as the very lowest amount that can legally be paid to an employee for one hour of work. Currently, this is $7.25 per hour federally, although many states have enacted higher minimum wage restrictions. For instances, California’s minimum wage was raised to $9.00 per hour as of July 1, 2014. Some jobs, such as servers, operate under a tipped rate, which is lower than the standard, but restrictions apply to these positions as well. If a server’s tips do not add up to minimum wage, the employer is required to make up the difference, ensuring that the worker does make at least the minimum required pay.
The FLSA also defines which activities are considered “work”. For instance, time spent in training, traveling between work sites, or while not completely relieved of duty, is considered time working and the employee must be compensated. The Department of Labor provides a thorough breakdown of these individual situations, as explained in the FLSA.
In addition, the employer is held responsible for keeping records of certain information:
- Time and day of week when employee’s workweek begins
- Hours worked each day
- Total hours worked each workweek
- Basis on which employee’s wages are paid (Hourly, Weekly, etc)
- Regular hourly pay rate
- Total daily or weekly straight-time earnings
- Total overtime earnings for the workweek
- Total wages paid each pay period
These records can be used for clarity and to avoid inconsistency. In the case of wage claims, these records can also be used to demonstrate a lack of proper payment of wages earned.
Overtime, as defined by the FLSA, is any amount of time worked over 40 hours in a workweek. This extra time must be paid at 1.5 times regular pay, meaning that if an employee is normally paid $10.00 per hour, any hours past 40 must be paid at a rate of $15.00 per hour. Managerial and executive positions are exempt from this rule, but these exceptions are strictly defined by the legislation.
Some employers attempt to sidestep overtime laws by labeling workers as supervisors while they still perform the same tasks as other workers. This is a violation of Federal law and is grounds for legal action. Some salaried workers are still required to receive overtime, depending on their duties and job description. Overtime pay is not mandatory on weekends or holidays unless the time worked is equivalent to more than 40 hours per week.
Any employer who fails to uphold the regulations set down by the FLSA is subject to legal actions, including claims from employees seeking wages owed. The legislation behind the FLSA can be complex, and if you have suffered due to an employer failing to act in good faith, the Houston Employment Attorneys of the Powers Law Firm can help you hold your employer accountable.