All workers deserve to be fairly compensated for the work they do. The Fair Labor Standards Act is a federal law designed to protect workers from dishonest employers who try to exploit them.
While the majority of American business owners are honest and hard-working, there are those who attempt to deny their employees what they've fairly earned. A collective FLSA lawsuit can hold this type of business owner responsible and recover the pay exploited workers have been denied.
No worker should have to worry about being manipulated by their employer. The FLSA offers protections against predatory employers, but many workers may not be aware that these protections exist.
Non-exempt workers are entitled to overtime pay if they exceed 40 hours of work in a one-week period. For hours which exceed the 40-hour weekly limit, employers are required to pay at least 1.5 times the normal hourly rate.
Many employers may ask a worker to start a shift early to prepare, stay later to clean up, or work through a scheduled lunch break. If any of these scenarios result in over 40 hours in the workplace for that workweek, that employee is entitled to overtime pay.
Overtime Pay Exemptions
Not all workers are entitled to overtime pay. Salaried workers who earn at least $23,600 per year and perform certain exempt job duties are not required to be paid for overtime work. This exemption mainly applies to employees who have high-level job duties which can be classified as either "executive," "administrative," or "professional".
Employers should give employees ample advance notice if they want them to work overtime and provide set schedules prior to the beginning of the workweek. This makes it easier to avoid overtime pay disputes. When overtime work is needed, it should be fairly distributed among workers.
Federal law mandates a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. However, many states have opted to raise their minimum wage. In states with higher minimum wages, the state wage takes precedence over the federal requirements.
Pennsylvania employers are required to display an approved minimum wage poster with details about worker's rights in an easily viewable place. Since PA still uses the federal rate of $7.25 an hour, employees who work over 40 hours per week are entitled to $10.88/hour for overtime hours.
Minimum Wage Exemptions
The FLSA has specific minimum wage exemptions for certain individuals, which allow an employer to pay less than $7.25 an hour:
- Under 20 Training Wage - Employers are permitted to pay new employees under the age of 20 a training wage of $4.25 an hour during their first 90 days of employment.
- Student Minimum Wage - High school and full-time college students who work part-time may be paid 85% of Pennsylvania's minimum wage, or $6.16 an hour, as long as their weekly total is 20 hours or less.
- Tipped Minimum Wage - Tipped employees, such as waitstaff and bartenders, are only required to be paid $2.82 per hour. However, if the total tips plus the base rate of $2.83 don't add up to a total of $7.25 hour for the week, employers are required to make up the difference.