July 24, 2018 marked the ninth anniversary since the last time the federal minimum wage rate was increased, to $7.25 per hour. Federal laws explain that no state may set minimum wages at less than this amount, but they are welcome to offer more, which Illinois does. In 2010, Illinois raised the state minimum wage to $8.25 per hour. Although there is strong support for another increase, to date, the amount has remained the same. While it seems like it should be easy to pay an employee for the amount they work, there are many complexities to this process that can result in disputes between employers and employees. Common errors include the miscalculation of overtime pay, wage shortages, and violations of minimum wage requirements.
A Complex Math
Verifying that employees are paid correctly for the time worked should be simple, but violations often occur nonetheless. Often, determining the amount of time worked is not the problem; rather, it is the minor nuances that cause violations. Consider the following examples:
- Uniforms: Who purchases, cleans, and repairs required clothing and gear?
- Travel: What travel expenses are compensated by the employer? When does a trip fall under business purposes? Do social dinners qualify as personal time?
- Resources: If an employee requires specialized equipment such as a chair, desk or keyboard, are those provided by their employer, or will the employee pay for them?
Avoid Mistakes With These Best Practices
Even employers with the best intentions find themselves in violation of minimum wage laws. These are the best practices many businesses use to avoid steep penalties:
- Ensure managers and supervisors understand minimum wage laws and strictly avoid “off-the-clock” working by all employees.
- Have a written policy for minimum wage and hour laws.
- Frequently review policies for tracking time, taking breaks, and overtime pay.
- Set standard protocols for everyday expenses such as uniforms, travel pay, and exceptional resources.
- Create and encourage the usage of an employee complaint process for pay concerns.
- Implement a system that requires employees to verify timecards and initial any changes.
- Get advice from an experienced attorney to ensure that policies, classifications, and all other aspects of the business follow the current laws.
Contact an Experienced Illinois Employment Lawyer
If you have questions or concerns about minimum wage violations, a Schaumburg employment law attorney will provide the answers you need. The Miller Law Firm, P.C. offers reliable and cost-effective service to companies and individuals in Cook County, Kane County, DuPage County, and Lake County, Illinois. Using over a decade of experience assisting local businesses, attorney Richard J. Miller will provide the legal help and guidance you need. Call us today at 847-995-1205 to schedule your free consultation and find out how together, we can help your business reach its full potential.