Schaumburg employment lawyer Illinois lawAs an employer, it is your responsibility to provide a clean and hazard-free work environment for your employees. One method that has been proven effective in reducing workplace safety concerns is ensuring that workers are not overworked. Requiring employees to work an exorbitant amount of hours without ample rest increases stress, lowers morale, and creates an environment prone to mistakes and injuries. It is in the best interest of the employee, the client, and even yourself to abide by the Illinois One Day of Rest in Seven Act (ODRISA). Doing so can also help avoid any disputes related to overtime pay.

More Than Just a Rest Day

As the name of the act implies, within a seven-day workweek, there must be one full 24-hour rest day. The term “week” refers to seven consecutive 24-hour days beginning at 12:01 AM on Sunday morning and ending at midnight the following Saturday night. The rest day should coincide with the employee’s traditional day of chosen religious worship. The legislation also requires a mandatory unpaid 20-minute meal break for every seven and a half hour shift, which must be given within the first five hours of work. If your employee is a hotel room attendant in Cook County, they receive one 30-minute meal break for a seven-hour shift in addition to two 15-minute rest breaks.

Benefits of Rest

You may require more breaks for your employees. In fact, such breaks can be made mandatory and a terminable offense if they are not taken, if you so choose. There are many essential benefits earned from employee breaks in which they get to step away an enjoy their rest. These benefits include:

  • Increased productivity
  • Reduced stress
  • Decreased sick days

Day Off Exemptions

Occasionally, an employee requests to work on their allotted rest day. If an employee volunteers, an employer must submit a permit for approval with the Illinois Department of Labor. If this occurs more than eight times in a one-year period, the Director must consider why the abundance of work for one individual employee cannot be remedied by hiring additional staff or adjusting production schedules.

Contact an Illinois Employment Lawyer

If you own a small business, you understand fast-paced environments and lunches at the desk. However, overworked employees do not do any good for your business. Providing even the bare minimum breaks has ample benefits, not the least of which is avoiding penalties. If you have questions regarding rest requirements, contact a Schaumburg, IL employment law attorney. Miller Law Firm, P.C. understands that being a business owner is stressful at times and we are here to help ensure your legal matters do not take away from your livelihood. Call 847-995-1205 today to schedule your free initial consultation.


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Schaumburg wage and hour dispute attorneyWage and hour disputes remain a continuous thorn in the side of many employers. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), there are two methods federally approved to determine a salaried employee’s “regular rate” of overtime pay. Aside from exempt salaried employees, employers must choose to pay either a fixed or fluctuating workweek salary, with additional caveats for any hours worked over 40 hours. Employers should select their option based on the needs of the company as well as the laws in their state.

What Is the Difference?

Under the traditional fixed salary workweek method, an employee works the same amount of hours and earns the same paycheck every pay period, as well as “time-and-a-half” — 1.5 times the normal hourly rate — for all hours worked over 40 in the workweek. Alternatively, under the fluctuating workweek (FWW) method, an employee earns the same rate of pay regardless of hours worked.

The salary for an FWW employee is the same each week, whether the employee works 20 or 50 hours. This fluctuation creates variations in overtime pay rates, because the hourly rate of pay changes based on the number of hours worked. Additionally, FWW salaries include the “time” part of “time-and-a-half,” making employers responsible only for the “half.” Basically, for all hours worked over 40, employees are due only one-half of the average hourly rate.

The FWW option is mutually beneficial to all parties involved. Employers can often reduce labor costs and create an effective and efficient workforce. Employees enjoy the FWW method because a fixed income with fluctuating hours enables more stable monthly financial budgeting.

Compliance Concerns

Although the idea of the fluctuating workweek is reasonably straightforward, complications arise from compliance issues regarding the “regular” rate of pay for nonexempt employees not paid on an hourly basis. Four states (Alaska, California, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania) prohibit employers from using FWW altogether. To date, the other states either have not addressed FWW, or they allow its usage. If an employer opts for FWW, there are additional compliance requirements. These are:

The employee’s hours must fluctuate above and below 40 hours; and
There must be a clear and mutual understanding between the business and the employee about the payment method.

The Bottom Line

Regardless of the chosen methodology, an employer should adhere to the guidelines of their salary option to the best of their ability, and they should attempt to promptly rectify any payroll errors. This area continues to see a high rate of litigation, resulting in the development and clarification of laws. If you have questions regarding proper pay, it is best to consult an Illinois labor law attorney for up-to-date and case-specific answers. Attorney Richard J. Miller can help you design a compliant fluctuating workweek salary plan or resolve a compliance dispute. Call 847-995-1205 to schedule your free consultation today.


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Schaumburg independent contractor classification lawyerIndependent contractors play an important role in many companies. Especially in smaller workplaces in an unstable economy, business owners often choose to hire an independent contractor rather than add another employee to the payroll. This decision is beneficial if appropriately implemented. However, employers should be aware of the common, costly mistakes that can occur in these situations.

Why Hire an Independent Contractor

As a business owner, think about how long it took you to put your team together. The hiring process alone takes an ample amount of time to narrow down the candidates, ensuring you have the right one for your position. Then, consider the days, weeks, or even months of onboard training needed to prepare that employee to be useful in their job. However, that employee may not remain with the company for the hoped duration. Perhaps there is conflict in the workplace, they find another job, or some personal family struggle requires them to step away from their position.

Regardless of the situation, a new employee must be hired, beginning the process again. Experts say the hiring process alone costs a company approximately 20% of that employee’s annual salary. For many businesses, hiring an independent contractor is an attractive alternative, because:

  • They work as needed.
  • They are paid only for their results.
  • They collect no insurance or other benefits.
  • They earn no vacation time, sick days, or overtime pay.
  • They pay their own taxes.

Be Careful Of Costly Mistakes

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) carefully monitor businesses to ensure proper classification of employees. During an audit, if an establishment lists an employee incorrectly as an independent contractor, the company will face steep penalties. Here are a few tips for avoiding a misclassification error when working with independent contractors:

  • Pay per project rather than hourly.
  • Allow them to set their hours or schedule.
  • Compensate them enough to afford their benefits.
  • Encourage them to work with multiple clients.
  • Require them to work outside of the office.
  • Have them pay for their tools and overhead costs.
  • Ensure that they have a way of tracking their performance.

Get Legal Advice

Having a written agreement that outlines all expectations and the scope of work may help in avoiding miscommunication. However, this type of agreement is not a determining factor in an investigation by the IRS or IDES. If you have questions about differentiating between employees and independent contractors and addressing these issues during an audit, the skilled attorneys at Miller Law Firm, P.C. have the knowledge, experience, and dedication necessary to help resolve your legal issues. Contact a Schaumburg, IL employment attorney at 847-995-1205 today to schedule your free initial consultation.


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