To understand the necessity and importance of an overtime lawyer, we must know about the laws governing overtime pay in the United States. Once we know about the rules and regulations governing overtime pay, we become aware of their violations. Once we know about the rights we are entitled to, we can decide whether we need specialized assistance to earn those rights.
This article covers the following topics:
What is Overtime Pay?
Provisions for overtime pay are governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act in the United States. Employees who come under the tenets of this act receive additional pay for working above the stipulated limits of 40 hours a workweek. The rate of pay should be at least time and one-half their regular rates of pay. The law does not mandate overtime pay for working on the weekends or the holidays. But, if someone is working his overtime hours on those days, he/she is eligible to receive overtime pay.
The act defines an employee’s workweek as a fixed and continuous stretch of 168 hours, seven consecutive days of 24 hours. It is not required to have one’s workweek coincide with a calendar week. One may start his/her work week on a Wednesday at any hour of his convenience. In this case, their workweek will end the next Wednesday at that particular hour. The overtime earned by an employee on a particular workweek must be paid to an employee on his/her regular payday, the day he/she receives her regular wages.
Here, one must remember that not all employees are eligible to receive overtime pay. Before claiming overtime or filing a complaint about not receiving it, one must be certain about what category of employment he/she belongs to.
Are You Eligible for Overtime Pay?
There are two types of employees when it comes to eligibility for overtime pay: exempt employees and non-exempt employees. The exempt employees are the salaried ones who are not entitled to receive additional pay despite the hours they put in each workweek. Usually, employees holding management positions or those who receive salaries above the fixed payment threshold fall into this category.
These earning thresholds have been fixed by the Department of Labour. The threshold for receiving overtime pay has been fixed at $684 per week, which implies that if a person is earning equal or less than US$35,568 per year, he/she is eligible to receive overtime pay. On the other end, to qualify as a highly compensated employee, one needs to earn $107,432 or more in a year.
Laws Governing Overtime Pay
If you are eligible to receive overtime pay as per the standards mentioned above, you must know that the law that governs your overtime pay outcomes is the Fair Labor Standards Act. It’s a comprehensive law, that defines all the parameters involved in setting the structural framework of overtime pay. It defines what minimum wage is, what maximum hours are, what this law’s relation to other federal laws is, etc. Apart from this law, there are overtime exemption regulations, as well. It applies to the executive, administrative, professional, computer, and outside sales employees.
Why Do You Need Overtime Lawyers?
Despite having clear standards defining what overtime pay is and who should be eligible to avail themselves, businesses and employers often deny overtime. There are certain intricacies within the rules that businesses often leverage to not pay overtime. For instance, they look at whether the employee fills a W-2 tax form or not. They also look into whether they get paid by the hour and whether the job that they do is repetitive and manual labor. The employers also often look into whether the employee has a college degree and whether he/she is a supervisor or manager. Whether one would get overtime under the new rule often depends on meeting these criteria and conditions.
Businesses leverage loopholes existing in these requirements. There are also examples of blatant and wrongful denial of overtime without caring much about what the law says. Often businesses pay their employees less than the standard minimum wage. They force their employees to work off-the-clock. The employees working in the hospitality sector also complaint about stolen tips.
An overtime lawyer also referred to as a wage and hour lawyer, pursues these cases. In the public courtroom, they represent the working class who have been denied their rightful payment. Millions and millions of dollars have been recovered from businesses by filing such wage and hour or overtime lawsuits.
There are some specific ways through which a business can deny overtime. And, these cases are legally intricate. Therefore, if you find yourself entangled in any of the following situations, it is prudent that you represent yourself through an overtime lawyer:
#1. Employer Alters Your Role or Designation
- Your employer may alter your role or designation to convert you from an exempt employee to a non-exempt one. In such cases, your employer is liable to pay you overtime. The payment liabilities become valid in retrospect starting from the day your designation was altered. If your employer is not willing to clear these payments, you need to consult and hire an overtime lawyer.
#2. Employers Show you to be Independent Contractors
- Your employer may claim your work status to be that of an independent contractor who is not eligible for overtime. If you are a genuine employee and your right to overtime pay is denied by claiming that you are an independent contractor, you have every right to challenge the claim through an experienced overtime attorney.
#3. Offering Comp-time in Lieu of Overtime Pay
- A common practice adopted by many employers to deny overtime pay is to offer you comp-time. It means that your employee would offer you time off instead of money. You can challenge such decisions in a court of law.
Employers often put their legal muscle to deny rightful payment. In such cases, it is prudent that you represent yourself through an overtime law lawyer who knows the laws well. Apart from the FLSA, such attorneys are also well aware of the contract laws that play a decisive role in settling such cases. You may contact your state’s bar associations, legal aid centers, or refer to the online lawyer directories to identify specialized lawyers fit to represent your side in the court.
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