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Schaumburg minimum wage violations lawyerLaws are established for various reasons, mainly to keep citizens safe and provide for a fair society. The state of Illinois has several new laws taking effect in 2021, one of which affects employers and their employees. The minimum wage will increase to $11 per hour for standard workers; $6.60 per hour for tipped workers, and $8.50 per hour for workers under the age of 18 who work less than 650 hours in a calendar year. This new legislation is part of a staggered plan that will eventually raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025. However, many retailers have expressed concern that they cannot afford this new hourly rate after struggling to stay open during the pandemic. Whether you own a small start-up or a well-established company, it is important to understand the legal consequences for hourly wage violations in Illinois.

A Gradual Increase

Although the wage rate increase for 2021 is meant to assist the entire Illinois workforce, it will gradually increase depending on what part of the state you live in. On July 1, 2021, the minimum wage in Chicago will increase to $15 per hour, or $14.50 per hour for employees at companies with 20 or fewer employees. The minimum wage for tipped workers will increase to $9.00 per hour, and employers are required to make up the difference if the base wage plus tips does not equal $15.00 per hour.

Penalties for Wage Violations

All employers have an obligation to know the minimum wage laws and are required to post the Fair Labor Standards Act provisions in a place where workers can easily read them. If a company pays a worker less than what is mandated by federal minimum wage laws, or neglects to adhere to overtime pay guidelines, the employer may be required to go to court and face maximum penalties. The Wage Payment and Collection Act issued by the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) designates when, where, and how often wages are to be paid and prohibits deductions from wages or compensation without a worker’s consent. It is important to note that federal and state government employees are considered exempt and therefore cannot file claims under the Act.

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Cook County employment lawyerA typical workweek for employees in the United States consists of 40 hours. However, many workers actually spend more time performing their jobs. For jobs that are paid on an hourly basis, anything over 40 hours is usually considered overtime. Although many salaried (exempt) workers work 50-60 hours a week, they may not be eligible for overtime pay depending on their company or employment contract. The Illinois Overtime law (called the Illinois Minimum Wage Law) mirrors the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in many ways. Similar to the FLSA, the Illinois overtime law requires that non-exempt employees receive overtime pay equal to 1.5 times their regular hourly pay for any hours worked over 40 in a week. With so many employees working remotely now in response to the COVID-19 health crisis, it may be difficult to track employees’ hours regarding overtime if they are working from home.

Keeping Track of Hours Online

Since remote employees are generally entitled to the same legal protections that on-site workers have, working remotely can present unique challenges that should be addressed to ensure a company is legally compliant. Employers have certain obligations regarding employees’ hours and wages for overtime pay. As a business owner, accurate record-keeping is imperative. Detailed reporting ensures that management and workers are following proper procedures and company policies.

Businesses throughout the country, including Illinois companies, have implemented remote-work arrangements for their employees due to the coronavirus outbreak. In many cases, this is the first time a company may have allowed its employees to work from home. Essential businesses have remained open during the pandemic, such as banks, grocery stores, and hospitals. Non-essential businesses were temporarily closed, including service industries like hair and nail salons, gyms, and fitness centers. These companies had to pause operations since those workers cannot do their jobs from home. On the other hand, office workers in the business field who do the majority of their work on a computer can perform their duties remotely as long as they have a computer and an Internet connection.

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employee, Illinois employment lawyerIt can be easy to misclassify a worker, especially when it comes to small businesses. There are a few different classifications that employees can fall under, such as employee or independent contractor, salaried or hourly and overtime exempt or non-exempt. Assigning the wrong status to a worker can bring costly consequences like liability for employment taxes, required payment of back wages, and other penalties. In order to avoid such trouble that will bring nothing but headaches, you should know exactly what constitutes certain designations and how to determine how you should classify a worker.

Independent Contractor vs. Employee

The first determination you should make is whether or not you technically have an independent contractor or an employee. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has developed a set of criteria to help employers make this designation. The IRS states that there are three areas where you should look to figure out if your worker is an employee or an independent contractor.

Behavior

Typically, workers are considered to be employees if the employer has the right to control and direct the work performed by the worker. Your worker may be an employee if:

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Illinois small business employment law attorneyThey say that “time is money,” and that is true in all aspects of life. No matter whether you are discussing your personal life or your business, saving time ultimately saves you money. Especially in a business aspect, proper time management enables you to get more work accomplished efficiently, which can earn your business more money and cut down on overhead costs while ensuring that you meet the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Here are a few time management tips that will help you in both your business and your personal life:

Ditch the Smart Device

Unless your business operates directly on your smartphone, you should make it a habit to keep it out of reach, especially during business hours. Employee cell phone usage should be limited as well. Even the best worker has a hard time avoiding the temptation of checking their device at work. Remove the temptation by either requiring that cell phones be left in one’s vehicle or locker or kept turned off at work. Lead by example and follow the rule yourself to gain optimum efficiency.

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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.

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1051 Perimeter Drive, Suite 400
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Phone: (847) 995-1205

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