If you are an essential employee, chances are you are working more hours than you are used to. From the trucking industry to the medical field, grocery store employees to manufacturing, you are what is keeping our nation moving during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While you are working longer shifts, you expect your employer to compensate you for the work you are doing. However, when they do not, they have taken advantage of your good nature during this uneasy time.
If you are a victim of wage and hour violations during COVID-19, you need legal advice. We can help.
COVID-19 Wage and Hour Violations
While some industries have adapted and loosened their mandated protocols, others have been working through this global health crisis as best as they can. However, employees are still being taken advantage of and missing out on their well-deserved pay.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the federal law that governs minimum wage, overtime pay, child labor, recordkeeping, and special minimum wage standards applicable to most private and public employees.
Under FLSA, employees must be paid at a rate of one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for hours worked beyond 40 in a given workweek. This includes hourly, salary, and piecework wages.
However, some groups are exempt from this provision including:
- Administrative, professional and executive employees
- Those employed under collective bargaining agreements
- Public sector employees
- Independent contractors
- Seasonal amusement or recreational workers
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division is responsible for enforcing FLSA provisions in addition to investigating employers.
While each state may have different protocols when it comes to wage and hour violations, there are certain key elements that are found across the nation:
- Minimum wage
- Overtime compensation
- Meal and rest breaks
- Damages for violations
In addition to the above, other violations include paying far below the minimum wage or taking deductions which place the employee below minimum wage as well as an employer withholding a final paycheck from a former employer upon finding new employment.
Right now, a major question being faced by employees and employers alike is whether an employer must pay an employee the same wages when their work becomes remote. According to the Department of Labor–in most cases, yes.
When telework is provided as a reasonable accommodation during COVID-19 and is made such under an employee contract, then the employer must pay the same rates. However, if you have concerns, you should speak with your employer or union representative.
Be mindful though, that if you are unable to work from home, your employer does not have to pay you if that is the option from not being able to work at all.
While wage and hour violations can happen to anyone in any industry, they most often occur to low-wage workers, women, young people and immigrants.
Penalties For Wage and Hour Violations
When wage and hour violations occur, there are penalties for the employer. While these may range from payment of back wages, awarding additional damages and more, it is critical that if you have been a victim of wage and hour violations by the hands of a current or former employer, you seek justice.
The National Conference of State Legislatures has created a chart regarding the penalties for wage and hour violations by each state.
My employer has not compensated me for the extra hours I am working due to COVID-19
If you have been a victim of wage and hour violations during COVID-19, know that you have rights. We can evaluate the facts of your case and push for legal action if need be. Contact us today to speak with an employee rights attorney. We are working with law firms across the nation to help you during this uneasy time.