If you are trying to understand the confusing language and questions surrounding wage and hour claims, use this list of Frequently Asked Questions to help you. You should also feel free to use the Search button on this page for information on specific topics and key words.
Topic:
Work Hours Leave
Minimum Wage Overtime
Recordkeeping & Reporting Regulations & Standards
Termination Wage Determination
General Questions Work Hours Minimum Wage Recordkeeping & Reporting Termination Leave Regulations & Standards Wage Determination Back to top
When is overtime pay due?
  • For qualified, nonexempt workers, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) enforces overtime wages at a rate of not less than one and one-half times a worker’s standard rate of pay after a fulltime workweek, which is considered a forty-hour week. Certain exceptions to the 40 hours per week standard apply under specific situations to nursing home and hospital workers, and to firefighters and police officers working under public agencies. Certain states have also enforced their own overtime regulations. Where a worker is subject to both the federal and state overtime laws, the worker is qualified to receive overtime pay according to the higher standard (i.e., the standard that will pay out the higher rate of overtime income). Back to top
When are meal periods and breaks required?
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not enforce any laws that mandate meal breaks or rest periods be given to employees. Certain states, however, do enforce laws that govern these policies. If the state you work in does not enforce laws regarding meal periods or breaks, these advantages are a matter of agreement between the worker (or the worker’s representative) and his or her employer. Back to top
What is the Fair Labor Standards Act?
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) determines overtime wages, recordkeeping, minimum wage, and child labor standards impacting part-time and full-time employees in the private sector and in State, Federal, and local governments. As of July 24, 2009, Protected nonexempt employees are eligible to a minimum wage rate of not less than $7.25 per hour. Overtime wages at a rate of not less than one and one-half times their normal rates of pay is required after a full-time workweek of forty hours. Back to top
What type of notice is an employer required to give before firing a worker?
  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not enforce any regulations for providing notice to a worker before a layoff or before being fired. In some situations, employers are required to give their employees advanced notice of plant closure or mass layoffs. The Warn Act offers precise information on advance notice, employer liability and employee rights during plant closure or mass layoffs. Certain states may enforce requirements for worker notification before layoff or being fired. Back to top
How many daily or weekly hours is an individual permitted to work?
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not restrict the amount of hours weekly or daily that workers aged 16 years and older can be required to work. Back to top
How are wages for sick pay, vacation pay, and holiday pay calculated and when are they owed?
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not enforce a requirement for employee compensation for time not worked, such as trips, holidays (federal or otherwise) or sick leave. These types of wages are a matter of an agreement between the two parties. Back to top
What is the federal minimum wage?
  • The minimum wage in the United States for qualified, nonexempt workers is $7.25 per hour as of July 24, 2009. The national minimum wage terms are contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Many states also enforce their own laws regarding minimum wage. Where a worker is subject to both the federal and state minimum wage regulations, the worker is to receive the greater of the two minimum wages. Numerous minimum wage omissions apply under certain situations to employees with incapacities, individuals under age 20 in their first 90 consecutive calendar days of employment full-time students, student-learners and workers that receive gratuities as part of their job earnings. Back to top
I never received my final paycheck. What action can I take?
  • Federal law does not require employers to give previous workers their last paycheck right away. On the other hand, some states may demand instant payment. If the normal payday for the last pay period an individual worked has passed and the worker has not been compensated, contact the labor department in your state or the Department of Labor’s Wage. DOL also has methods in place for the recovery of back payments. Back to top
How many hours is considered to be part-time employment? How many hours is considered to be full-time employment?
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not specify an hourly amount for part-time employment or full-time employment. This is an area usually to be determined by the employer. Whether a worker is classified as full-time or part-time does not alter the application of the FLSA. Back to top
I am pregnant and want to take some time off from my job after my baby is born. How much time off am I allowed to take?
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 allows qualified workers of covered employers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave annually with continued group health insurance coverage during the time off for specified medical and family purposes, including the adoption or birth of a child, or placement of foster children. FMLA is mandated by the Wage and Hour Division in the Employment Standards Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor. Back to top
What is a Wage Determination?
  • A “wage determination” is the listing of compensation rates and fringe benefit rates for each categorization of mechanics and laborers, which the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor has deemed to be fundamental in a certain area for a specific type of construction. It is defined as including not only the first decision but any additional decisions correcting, changing superseding or otherwise altering the scope and rates of the original decision. Back to top
When are pay increases required?
  • A raise in pay that is higher than the federal minimum wage is not a requirement implemented by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Pay increases and raises are usually an aspect of a working relationship that are discussed between the employer and worker. Back to top
Whose duty is it to compensate an employee’s benefits (if any) and wages, during leave time for pregnancy?
  • Areas surrounding pregnancy leave time are handled by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This type of leave is usually unpaid leave. On the other hand, a worker may select, or an employer may require a worker, to substitute the worker’s accumulated paid leave (if available) for some or the entire FMLA leave period. Back to top
Is overtime or extra earnings required for work done at night or on the weekend?
  • For covered nonexempt employees, overtime pay is required for any hours worked beyond the forty hours in a fulltime workweek, regardless of the time of the day or day of the week. If nighttime or weekend work is not overtime work and is part of the forty hour workweek, it does not qualify for overtime or additional pay—the day or time alone does qualify for additional pay. Back to top
Can a worker be ordered to perform work outside of the worker’s occupation description?
  • Yes. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not restrict the kind of job duties that workers age 18 and older may be ordered to perform, regardless of job description. On the other hand, there are limitations on what type of work minors are allowed to do. Back to top
What hours are minors permitted to work?
  • According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 14 is the minimum age to work in a non-agricultural field. Hours worked by 14- and 15-year-olds are restricted to three hours in a school day, non-school hours, eight hours on a non-school day, eighteen hours in a school week, forty hours on a non-school week and hours between 7:00am and 7:00pm, with the exception of June 1 through Labor Day, with hours being extended until 9:00pm. Back to top
When can a worker’s scheduled hours of work be modified?
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not enforce any laws regarding the scheduling of workers, with the exception of specific child labor terms. As such, an employer may alter a worker’s schedule without giving adequate notice or obtaining the worker’s permission (unless otherwise subject to a previous agreement between the employer and worker or the worker’s representative). Back to top
What is the youngest age at which an individual can be employed?
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) enforces 14 as the minimum age for the majority of non-agricultural jobs. Nevertheless, at any age, children may deliver newspapers; perform in television, radio, movie, or theatrical productions; work for companies owned by their parents (except in manufacturing, mining, or dangerous jobs) in addition to babysitting or performing small chores in a private home. Additionally, at any age, youth may work as homeworkers to collect evergreens and construct evergreen wreaths. Back to top
What is the minimum wage for employees who receive gratuities?
  • Although the minimum wage is $7.25, this amount changes for those who receive tips. A employer of a tipped work is only obliged to compensate the worker $2.13 an hour in direct wages if that amount plus the gratuities received equals at least the federal minimum wage, the worker retains all gratuities and the worker customarily and normally makes more than $30 a month in gratuities. If a worker’s gratuities combined with the employer’s direct earnings of at least $2.13 an hour do not meet the federal minimum hourly earnings requirement, the employer must compensate for the difference. Some states have enforced more specific minimum wage laws regarding workers who receive tips. When a worker is subject to both the state and federal wage regulations, the worker is entitled to the terms which provides the more generous outcome. Back to top
How can I know what the new prevailing earning rates are in my location?
  • All prevailing income rates will need to be reassessed to evaluate the impact of the increase in the minimum wage. Your facility should speak with the sources from which you initially obtained prevailing wage rate knowledge to determine the effect of the increase of the statutory minimum wage, or, if needed, obtain these facts from new sources. Once you have this knowledge, you should adjust the wage rates of employees with disabilities no later than the next full pay period after the prevailing wage rates are reassessed. It is important to ensure that the information you receive on earning rates reflects the modifications in the statutory minimum wage and inform the sources appropriately. Back to top
Do minimum wage laws also apply to young workers?
  • Although the federal minimum wage rate has been $7.25 as of July 24, 2009, the rate does not apply to younger workers under the age of 20 during their first 90 consecutive calendar days of work. This special rate of minimum wage if $4.25 an hour. After the 90 day period passes, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to compensate the regular federal minimum wage. Other programs that permit for payment of less than the normal federal minimum wage apply to employees with disabilities, full-time students, and student-learners working pursuant to sub-minimum wage certificates. These programs are not restricted to the employment of young workers. Back to top
Can my mining company force us to work overtime? We have been working double-shifts, the miners are exhausted, and someone is going to get hurt.
  • The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) does not have the power to enforce work schedules. It is the duty of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division for mandating regulations regarding overtime wages. There are no federal laws disallowing overtime work, but workers who work in excess of 40 hours in a workweek must be compensated with an overtime income rate. Back to top
Where can I locate minimum wage laws for a specific state?
  • Laws and regulations that mandate minimum wage requirements and provisions in each state can be located on the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division Web site at: www.dol.gov/whd/. Back to top
If a worker suffers from a sickness and the physician writes a medical certification that the worker is ill, who compensates for this sick leave?
  • Usually, federal labor laws do not command employers to offer sick leave or compensate for time off due to an illness. Nevertheless, if employers do offer sick leave, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows a qualified worker to substitute paid leave for the unpaid leave to the extent the employer’s normal requirements for the use of medical/sick leave are met and the sick leave is eligible to be FMLA leave. Employers are also permitted to designate paid leave as FMLA leave assuming all the terms are met. Back to top
How do I calculate “commensurate wage rates”?
  • A commensurate wage rate is an exceptional minimum wage paid to an employee with a disability which is based on the employee’s individual efficiency, despite how limited production may be, in proportion to the productivity and compensation of experienced nondisabled employees performing the same type of work and in the same area and field. One example of a commensurate wage rate would be if a skilled, nondisabled employee creates an item and can make 40 of these items in an hour, but an employee with a incapacity can only make 10 of the same items in an hour, the disabled employee is classified as 25 percent as constructive as the other employee without a disability and should make at least 25 percent of the prevailing income rate for such work. If the prevailing income rate is calculated to be $6.00 an hour, the employee with the disability employed under a special certificate should be collecting at least 25 percent of that wage rate or $1.50 an hour for doing the work. This example is not one that would represent a much more complex scenario, but it shows the standard of commensurate wage rates. Back to top
Is the Service Contract Act (SCA) applicable to all government contract work?
  • No, the SCA is not applicable to to: 1) contracts for construction, repair and/or modification, including decorating and of public works or buildings; 2) work handled by the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act; 3) contracts for the carriage of freight or personnel by plane, vessel, truck, bus, railway line, express, or oil or gas pipeline where published tariff rates are in effect; 4) contracts for the furnishing of services by telephone, radio, cable companies or telegraph, subject to the Communications Act of 1934; 5) contracts for public utility services, including power and electricity, steam, water, and gas; 6) contracts for direct services to a Federal agency by an individual or group; 7) contracts for a job related to postal contract stations; and 8 ) services executed outside of the geographical scope. To see the full list of exemptions, see Title 29, Part 4 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 4.123(d). Back to top
Are pay stubs required?
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does enforce a law that makes employers maintain adequate records of hours worked and wages compensated to workers. On the other hand, the FLSA does not force an employer to give workers pay stubs. Back to top
How are prevailing income rates calculated?
  • The minimum financial income rates and fringe benefits to be compensated are calculated based on what is usual in the locality. A rate is formulated to prevail where a single rate is compensated to a majority (50 percent or more) of the employees in the same class in a specific locality. If a single rate is not given to the majority of employees in a locality, statistical measurements such as the median (a point in a distribution where 50 percent of the surveyed employees receive that or a higher rate and 50 percent rare compensated a lesser rate) or the mean (average) are used to determine prevailing income rates. Back to top
Does the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) apply to workers that are part-time?
  • Yes, the USERRA covers both probationary and part-time workers. Back to top
Where are the requirements for commensurate compensation rates located in the federal regulations?
  • The laws and regulations regarding income rates can be located in sections 525.9 and 525.12 of Regulations, 29 CFR Part 525; and the methods for establishing prevailing wage rates can be located in section 525.10. Back to top
If I am summoned for jury duty and can’t go to work because of it, will I still get paid?
  • Since the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not enforce any laws that govern a requirement of payment for time not worked, jury duty is included as well and employees are not compensated for missing work due to jury duty. It is up to the sole discretion of the employer to offer this, but it is not a requirement. Back to top
Who is required to receive a W-2 form and how does a worker receive her or his W-2 form?
  • The Department of Labor does not have authority over taxing a worker’s income or providing W-2 forms to workers. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has jurisdiction over these aspects of employment law. Back to top
What if my state’s minimum wage law is higher than the national minimum wage?
  • The greater wage law applies in a situation such as this. Back to top
We do McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act (SCA) work for a federal agency and base our commensurate wage rates on the wage determination rate enforced by the contract. Are we required to modify these rates?
  • No, payment based on a wage determination enforced under SCA does not have to be adjusted unless the wage determination requires an income rate less than the modified, increased statutory minimum wage. In such situations, commensurate wage rates must be based on a prevailing wage rate at least equal to the statutory minimum wage. Back to top
What are the consequences for not posting a required federal poster?
  • Visit the website Workplace Poster Requirements for Small Businesses and Other Employers at http://www.dol.gov/oasam/programs/osdbu/sbrefa/poster/matrix.htm for applicable consequences. Back to top
Am I qualified to receive overtime pay if I am a salary employee?
  • The fact that you are compensated on a salary basis has no effect on whether you are eligibility to receive overtime pay. A salary simply means you are paid the same amount of money every weekly. Being qualified for overtime pay depends on whether you are an exempt or non-exempt worker. Back to top
But I work in excess of 40 hours in a week; is it legal for my boss to compensate me a flat rate?
  • It all is dependent on whether or not you are a nonexempt or exempt employee. Only nonexempt employees are eligible to receive overtime pay. Back to top
If I work through my lunch break, should I be paid over time?
  • You should be paid for any time that is spent working. If you normally work through lunch, work in excess of 40 hours per week and are a non-exempt worker, you should qualify for overtime compensation. Back to top
What if my hours are calculated biweekly? Some weeks I work 50 hours and I do not receive. Can an employer average those two weeks?
  • Usually, an employer is not permitted to average your work hours between two weeks when calculating overtime pay. If you are working 60 hours one week and 20 hours the next week, you are qualified to receive overtime pay for the first week if you are a non-exempt work. However, it is important to check your state laws and these laws can also vary by state. Back to top
Am I eligible for overtime pay if I am required to attend training meetings and sessions?
  • Usually, these types of work-related events are classified as compensable time. Back to top
Can my overtime earnings be calculated using bonuses and commissions?
  • Normally, all earnings you receive should be included in the calculation of your overtime income, including commissions and frequently bonuses. Back to top
Instead of overtime pay, is my employer allowed to give me comp time?
  • Generally speaking, private employers are not permitted to offer comp time instead of overtime compensation. If you are receiving comp time instead of overtime wages, your employer may be violating the Fair Labor and Standards Act (FLSA). If you work in excess of 50 hours in one week and your boss gives you 10 hours off the next week, your employer is violating the FLSA. Only exceptional workers, such as government workers, can legally accept comp time. Back to top
Am I entitled to overtime pay if I am paid cash and I am kept off the books?
  • Your employer is required to keep track of all hours work in addition to your earnings. If your employer compensates you with cash and these earnings are not recorded, he or she may be protecting himself or herself from a minimum wage or overtime pay violation. To calculate the amount rightfully owed to you, you must compare the hours you worked and the earnings you received. Back to top
When are pay increases required?
  • A raise in pay that is higher than the federal minimum wage is not a requirement implemented by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Pay increases and raises are usually an aspect of a working relationship that are discussed between the employer and worker. Back to top
When is overtime pay due?
  • For qualified, nonexempt workers, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) enforces overtime wages at a rate of not less than one and one-half times a worker’s standard rate of pay after a fulltime workweek, which is considered a forty-hour week. Certain exceptions to the 40 hours per week standard apply under specific situations to nursing home and hospital workers, and to firefighters and police officers working under public agencies.
  • Certain states have also enforced their own overtime regulations. Where a worker is subject to both the federal and state overtime laws, the worker is qualified to receive overtime pay according to the higher standard (i.e., the standard that will pay out the higher rate of overtime income). Back to top
I never received my final paycheck. What action can I take?
  • Federal law does not require employers to give previous workers their last paycheck right away. On the other hand, some states may demand instant payment. If the normal payday for the last pay period an individual worked has passed and the worker has not been compensated, contact the labor department in your state or the Department of Labor’s Wage. DOL also has methods in place for the recovery of back payments. Back to top

Work Hours

When is overtime pay due? For qualified, nonexempt workers, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) enforces overtime wages at a rate of not less than one and one-half times a worker’s standard rate of pay after a fulltime workweek, which is considered a forty-hour week. Certain exceptions to the 40 hours per week standard apply under specific situations to nursing home and hospital workers, and to firefighters and police officers working under public agencies. Back to top Certain states have also enforced their own overtime regulations. Where a worker is subject to both the federal and state overtime laws, the worker is qualified to receive overtime pay according to the higher standard (i.e., the standard that will pay out the higher rate of overtime income). Back to top When are meal periods and breaks required?
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not enforce any laws that mandate meal breaks or rest periods be given to employees. Certain states, however, do enforce laws that govern these policies. If the state you work in does not enforce laws regarding meal periods or breaks, these advantages are a matter of agreement between the worker (or the worker’s representative) and his or her employer. Back to top
What is the Fair Labor Standards Act?
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) determines overtime wages, recordkeeping, minimum wage, and child labor standards impacting part-time and full-time employees in the private sector and in State, Federal, and local governments. As of July 24, 2009, Protected nonexempt employees are eligible to a minimum wage rate of not less than $7.25 per hour. Overtime wages at a rate of not less than one and one-half times their normal rates of pay is required after a full-time workweek of forty hours. Back to top
How many daily or weekly hours is an individual permitted to work?
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not restrict the amount of hours weekly or daily that workers aged 16 years and older can be required to work. Back to top
How many hours is considered to be part-time employment? How many hours is considered to be full-time employment?
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not specify an hourly amount for part-time employment or full-time employment. This is an area usually to be determined by the employer. Whether a worker is classified as full-time or part-time does not alter the application of the FLSA. Back to top
Is overtime or extra earnings required for work done at night or on the weekend?
  • For covered nonexempt employees, overtime pay is required for any hours worked beyond the forty hours in a fulltime workweek, regardless of the time of the day or day of the week. If nighttime or weekend work is not overtime work and is part of the forty hour workweek, it does not qualify for overtime or additional pay—the day or time alone does qualify for additional pay. Back to top
  • What hours are minors permitted to work? According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 14 is the minimum age to work in a non-agricultural field. Hours worked by 14- and 15-year-olds are restricted to three hours in a school day, non-school hours, eight hours on a non-school day, eighteen hours in a school week, forty hours on a non-school week and hours between 7:00am and 7:00pm, with the exception of June 1 through Labor Day, with hours being extended until 9:00pm. Back to top
  • When can a worker’s scheduled hours of work be modified? The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not enforce any laws regarding the scheduling of workers, with the exception of specific child labor terms. As such, an employer may alter a worker’s schedule without giving adequate notice or obtaining the worker’s permission (unless otherwise subject to a previous agreement between the employer and worker or the worker’s representative). Back to top
Can my mining company force us to work overtime? We have been working double-shifts, the miners are exhausted, and someone is going to get hurt.
  • The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) does not have the power to enforce work schedules. It is the duty of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division for mandating regulations regarding overtime wages. There are no federal laws disallowing overtime work, but workers who work in excess of 40 hours in a workweek must be compensated with an overtime income rate. Back to top

Minimum Wage

What is the federal minimum wage?
  • The minimum wage in the United States for qualified, nonexempt workers is $7.25 per hour as of July 24, 2009. The national minimum wage terms are contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Many states also enforce their own laws regarding minimum wage. Where a worker is subject to both the federal and state minimum wage regulations, the worker is to receive the greater of the two minimum wages. Numerous minimum wage omissions apply under certain situations to employees with incapacities, individuals under age 20 in their first 90 consecutive calendar days of employment full-time students, student-learners and workers that receive gratuities as part of their job earnings. Back to top
When are pay increases required?
  • A raise in pay that is higher than the federal minimum wage is not a requirement implemented by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Pay increases and raises are usually an aspect of a working relationship that are discussed between the employer and worker. Back to top
What is the minimum wage for employees who receive gratuities?
  • Although the minimum wage is $7.25, this amount changes for those who receive tips. A employer of a tipped work is only obliged to compensate the worker $2.13 an hour in direct wages if that amount plus the gratuities received equals at least the federal minimum wage, the worker retains all gratuities and the worker customarily and normally makes more than $30 a month in gratuities. If a worker’s gratuities combined with the employer’s direct earnings of at least $2.13 an hour do not meet the federal minimum hourly earnings requirement, the employer must compensate for the difference. Some states have enforced more specific minimum wage laws regarding workers who receive tips. When a worker is subject to both the state and federal wage regulations, the worker is entitled to the terms which provides the more generous outcome. Back to top
Do minimum wage laws also apply to young workers?
  • Although the federal minimum wage rate has been $7.25 as of July 24, 2009, the rate does not apply to younger workers under the age of 20 during their first 90 consecutive calendar days of work. This special rate of minimum wage if $4.25 an hour. After the 90 day period passes, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to compensate the regular federal minimum wage. Other programs that permit for payment of less than the normal federal minimum wage apply to employees with disabilities, full-time students, and student-learners working pursuant to sub-minimum wage certificates. These programs are not restricted to the employment of young workers. Back to top
Where can I locate minimum wage laws for a specific state?
  • Laws and regulations that mandate minimum wage requirements and provisions in each state can be located on the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division Web site at: www.dol.gov/whd/. Back to top
What if my state’s minimum wage law is higher than the national minimum wage?
  • The greater wage law applies in a situation such as this. Back to top

Record keeping & Reporting

I never received my final paycheck. What action can I take?
  • Federal law does not require employers to give previous workers their last paycheck right away. On the other hand, some states may demand instant payment. If the normal payday for the last pay period an individual worked has passed and the worker has not been compensated, contact the labor department in your state or the Department of Labor’s Wage. DOL also has methods in place for the recovery of back payments.Back to top
Are pay stubs required?
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does enforce a law that makes employers maintain adequate records of hours worked and wages compensated to workers. On the other hand, the FLSA does not force an employer to give workers pay stubs. Back to top
Who is required to receive a W-2 form and how does a worker receive her or his W-2 form?
  • The Department of Labor does not have authority over taxing a worker’s income or providing W-2 forms to workers. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has jurisdiction over these aspects of employment law. Back to top

Termination

What type of notice is an employer required to give before firing a worker?
  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not enforce any regulations for providing notice to a worker before a layoff or before being fired. In some situations, employers are required to give their employees advanced notice of plant closure or mass layoffs. The Warn Act offers precise information on advance notice, employer liability and employee rights during plant closure or mass layoffs. Certain states may enforce requirements for worker notification before layoff or being fired. Back to top
I never received my final paycheck. What action can I take?
  • Federal law does not require employers to give previous workers their last paycheck right away. On the other hand, some states may demand instant payment. If the normal payday for the last pay period an individual worked has passed and the worker has not been compensated, contact the labor department in your state or the Department of Labor’s Wage. DOL also has methods in place for the recovery of back payments. Back to top

Leave

How are wages for sick pay, vacation pay, and holiday pay calculated and when are they owed?
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not enforce a requirement for employee compensation for time not worked, such as trips, holidays (federal or otherwise) or sick leave. These types of wages are a matter of an agreement between the two parties. Back to top
I am pregnant and want to take some time off from my job after my baby is born. How much time off am I allowed to take?
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 allows qualified workers of covered employers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave annually with continued group health insurance coverage during the time off for specified medical and family purposes, including the adoption or birth of a child, or placement of foster children. FMLA is mandated by the Wage and Hour Division in the Employment Standards Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor.
  • The first phase involves figuring out if your employer is covered under the Act. The Act includes private employers who have hired fifty or more workers for each working day during each of twenty or more calendar workweeks in the present or previous calendar year. Public agencies, in addition to public elementary and secondary schools, are eligible employers, even if there is a large amount of employees. The next phase is to determine if you are qualified under the Act. To qualify, you must have been employed at your current job for a minimum of 12 months, have been employed a minimum of 1250 hours during the past 12 months, and are employed at a location where your boss has hired a minimum of fifty workers at the job location or within 75 miles of the job location. The 12 month minimum that is enforced does not have to be a consecutive 12 month period. Certain states have regulations that are more beneficial to employees than the federal law. Check with your local Wage and Hour Office or your regional Women’s Bureau office to learn more about the laws in your state. Back to top
If a worker suffers from a sickness and the physician writes a medical certification that the worker is ill, who compensates for this sick leave?
  • Usually, federal labor laws do not command employers to offer sick leave or compensate for time off due to an illness. Nevertheless, if employers do offer sick leave, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows a qualified worker to substitute paid leave for the unpaid leave to the extent the employer’s normal requirements for the use of medical/sick leave are met and the sick leave is eligible to be FMLA leave. Employers are also permitted to designate paid leave as FMLA leave assuming all the terms are met. Back to top
If I am summoned for jury duty and can’t go to work because of it, will I still get paid?
  • Since the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not enforce any laws that govern a requirement of payment for time not worked, jury duty is included as well and employees are not compensated for missing work due to jury duty. It is up to the sole discretion of the employer to offer this, but it is not a requirement. Back to top
What are the consequences for not posting a required federal poster?

Overtime

When is overtime pay due?
  • For qualified, nonexempt workers, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) enforces overtime wages at a rate of not less than one and one-half times a worker’s standard rate of pay after a fulltime workweek, which is considered a forty-hour week. Certain exceptions to the 40 hours per week standard apply under specific situations to nursing home and hospital workers, and to firefighters and police officers working under public agencies. Back to top
  • Certain states have also enforced their own overtime regulations. Where a worker is subject to both the federal and state overtime laws, the worker is qualified to receive overtime pay according to the higher standard (i.e., the standard that will pay out the higher rate of overtime income). Back to top
What is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)?
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) determines overtime wages, recordkeeping, minimum wage, and child labor standards impacting part-time and full-time employees in the private sector and in State, Federal, and local governments. As of July 24, 2009, Protected nonexempt employees are eligible to a minimum wage rate of not less than $7.25 per hour. Overtime wages at a rate of not less than one and one-half times their normal rates of pay is required after a full-time workweek of forty hours. Back to top
Can my mining company force us to work overtime? We have been working double-shifts, the miners are exhausted, and someone is going to get hurt.
  • The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) does not have the power to enforce work schedules. It is the duty of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division for mandating regulations regarding overtime wages. There are no federal laws disallowing overtime work, but workers who work in excess of 40 hours in a workweek must be compensated with an overtime income rate. Back to top

Regulations & Standards

Can a worker be ordered to perform work outside of the worker’s occupation description?
  • Yes. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not restrict the kind of job duties that workers age 18 and older may be ordered to perform, regardless of job description. On the other hand, there are limitations on what type of work minors are allowed to do. Back to top
What is the youngest age at which an individual can be employed?
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) enforces 14 as the minimum age for the majority of non-agricultural jobs. Nevertheless, at any age, children may deliver newspapers; perform in television, radio, movie, or theatrical productions; work for companies owned by their parents (except in manufacturing, mining, or dangerous jobs) in addition to babysitting or performing small chores in a private home. Additionally, at any age, youth may work as homeworkers to collect evergreens and construct evergreen wreaths. Back to top
Does the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) apply to workers that are part-time?
  • Yes, the USERRA covers both probationary and part-time workers. Back to top

Wage Determination

When are pay increases required?
  • A raise in pay that is higher than the federal minimum wage is not a requirement implemented by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Pay increases and raises are usually an aspect of a working relationship that are discussed between the employer and worker. Back to top
Is overtime or extra earnings required for work done at night or on the weekend?
  • For covered nonexempt employees, overtime pay is required for any hours worked beyond the forty hours in a fulltime workweek, regardless of the time of the day or day of the week. If nighttime or weekend work is not overtime work and is part of the forty hour workweek, it does not qualify for overtime or additional pay—the day or time alone does qualify for additional pay. Back to top
How can I know what the new prevailing earning rates are in my location?
  • All prevailing income rates will need to be reassessed to evaluate the impact of the increase in the minimum wage. Your facility should speak with the sources from which you initially obtained prevailing wage rate knowledge to determine the effect of the increase of the statutory minimum wage, or, if needed, obtain these facts from new sources. Once you have this knowledge, you should adjust the wage rates of employees with disabilities no later than the next full pay period after the prevailing wage rates are reassessed. It is important to ensure that the information you receive on earning rates reflects the modifications in the statutory minimum wage and inform the sources appropriately Back to top.
How do I calculate “commensurate wage rates”?
  • A commensurate wage rate is an exceptional minimum wage paid to an employee with a disability which is based on the employee’s individual efficiency, despite how limited production may be, in proportion to the productivity and compensation of experienced nondisabled employees performing the same type of work and in the same area and field. One example of a commensurate wage rate would be if a skilled, nondisabled employee creates an item and can make 40 of these items in an hour, but an employee with a incapacity can only make 10 of the same items in an hour, the disabled employee is classified as 25 percent as constructive as the other employee without a disability and should make at least 25 percent of the prevailing income rate for such work. If the prevailing income rate is calculated to be $6.00 an hour, the employee with the disability employed under a special certificate should be collecting at least 25 percent of that wage rate or $1.50 an hour for doing the work. This example is not one that would represent a much more complex scenario, but it shows the standard of commensurate wage rates Back to top

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