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.
Employers must keep accurate records for all non-exempt employees. The Department of Labor has fourteen specific requirements for recordkeeping:
- Employee's full name and social security number.
- Address, including zip code.
- Birth date, if younger than 19.
- Sex and occupation.
- Time and day of the week when employee's workweek begins.
- Hours worked each day.
- Total hours worked each workweek.
- Basis on which employee's wages are paid (e.g., "$9 per hour", "$440 a week", "piecework")
- Regular hourly pay rate.
- Total daily or weekly straight-time earnings.
- Total overtime earnings for the workweek.
- All additions to or deductions from the employee's wages.
- Total wages paid each pay period.
- Date of payment and the pay period covered by the payment.
There are also specific requirements for how long records should be kept:
- Payroll records, collective bargaining agreements, and sales and purchase records should be kept for at least three years.
- Work computation records (i.e. time cards, work schedules, etc.) should be kept for at least two years.
Employers must have these records available for inspection at all times and may be kept at the workplace or in a separate office for central records.
Child labor laws are designed to protect children from being overworked or exploited. Education needs to come first for kids. Overworking a teenager could limit their educational opportunities now and their career opportunities in the future. The FLSA had laid out the following regulations for child labor:
- 14 years is the minimum working age.
- Minors are prohibited from engaging in dangerous labor such as mining or heavy construction.
- During non-school day periods such as summer vacation, minors may work 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week.
- During school-day periods, the maximum is set at 3 hours per day and 18 hours per week.
Like overtime and minimum wage, there are certain exemptions for these rules in which child labor laws do not apply:
- Minors working in a business owned by their parents may work at any time of day with no hours restrictions
- Agricultural work when the farm is owned by parents
- Actors or performers in entertainment industry
- Newspaper delivery
Child of workers are inherently inexperienced and are less likely to realize when an employer is exploiting them. If you think your son or daughter has been unfairly treated by his or her employer, consider consulting with our experienced workers' rights lawyers.