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Schaumburg employment lawyerWhen you own a company, there are federal, state, and local laws you must follow in order to stay in business. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), U.S. employees have the right to receive a minimum hourly wage, in addition to “time-and-a-half” overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours within a seven-day period. It also prohibits the employment of minors in “oppressive child labor” conditions. If business owners do not adhere to these rules and regulations, then workers may file lawsuits against their employers if they can show that the company is in violation. However, the company can defend against such charges as long as they can prove they did not violate any laws. An experienced employment attorney can help employers with providing this “burden of proof” in Illinois.

Potential Violations

There are several ways that a company can be in violation of FLSA rules, such as not paying its workers at least minimum wage or classifying them as non-exempt or contractors when they should be exempt or salaried. In other cases, upper management may use harassment tactics or discriminatory language to intimidate employees into doing certain tasks. The main areas in which an employer can be sued include:

  • Wages

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Overtime Pay LawyerThe Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law put in place in 1939 to protect the rights and well-being of American workers. While the act has changed since its inception 80 years ago, it still retains many of its original goals, such as the minimum wage, overtime pay requirements, record keeping, and child labor standards. The FLSA is an important part of the American workforce and protects the rights of most workers.

Are Employers Required to Pay Overtime?

According to the FLSA, if an employer permits or requires an employee to work overtime, that employer must pay the employee for those overtime hours. Overtime is defined as any hours worked after 40 hours in a single workweek. The FLSA also requires overtime pay be no less than the employee’s usual rate plus half.

For example, a retail worker normally makes $12 per hour. This week, they worked a total of 48 hours, meaning they have eight hours of overtime they must be compensated for. Their overtime rate would be $12 + $6, for a grand total of $18 for every hour worked over 40 hours in a week. This means the worker should receive a paycheck of $720, $576 for the first 40 hours worked, and $144 for the eight hours of overtime.

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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.

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Cook County overtime employment law attorneyOccasionally, companies need their associates to work more hours than usual. For example, during holidays and other peak shopping seasons, retailers experience a boost in sales volume, and the demand for more employees on the sales floor increases. Rather than hire a new “seasonal” employee to work less than 10 hours per week on a temporary basis, many employers offer these additional hours to their current employees. Employees happily accept the longer work days, because it puts more money in their pocket, and the employee is often eligible for the added bonus of overtime pay. However, when paychecks arrive on payday, many employees find that their paycheck was smaller than expected, and this is not necessarily the fault of the employer.

What Are the Overtime Pay Requirements?

In Illinois, if an employee’s workweek exceeds 40 hours, employers must pay a higher rate of pay for any hours worked over this threshold. Time and a half is the required payment for only those additional hours, not the full 40 hours. Some employers choose to offer an even higher rate of pay, and this rate is usually agreed upon at the time of hire or as a general policy. If an employer extends such an offer, such as double pay, the agreement becomes legally binding. There is no state requirement for additional pay for employees working on holidays or Sundays, unless working on those days puts the total number of hours an employee worked that week into the overtime range.

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overtime, Schaumburg employment law attorneyIn last month’s post on this blog, we talked in detail about new guidelines from the Department of Labor that addressed overtime pay for millions of American workers. The new rules were slated to go into effect on December 1 of this year and were being touted by many as one of President Obama’s biggest accomplishments in his second term. While the intent of the updated guideline was to make more employees eligible to receive overtime pay, a Texas judge has issued an injunction to prevent the rules from going into effect without further scrutiny.

Exempt and Non-Exempt Workers

Under current labor guidelines, there are three factors that determine whether a worker may be listed as exempt from overtime laws, meaning that an employer does not have to pay that person time and a half for every hour over 40 per week. The worker must:

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