Fair Labor Standards Act
Minimum wage requirements and overtime pay are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). As the law expands to include white-collar workers in its overtime pay provisions, it proves to remain relevant and necessary for assuring fair treatment in the workplace.
Also known as the Wage and Hours Bill, you can file a claim under it if you find your employer is mishandling your wages. These can be complex claims with several subtleties and as you go through your wage claim, you will appreciate the advantages of hiring an employment law attorney.
Basic Protection Under The FLSA
When the law passed, it guaranteed the following to workers who do not fall under exemptions:
- A minimum wage
- A right to “time and a half” for overtime pay
- The implementation of overtime pay once a worker completes 40 hours in one week
Wages must be paid at regular intervals in a pay period. There are a few things it does not guarantee. The FLSA does not cover break periods, sick time, or holidays. It also does not guarantee premium pay for working holidays or the distribution of final wages after employment terminates. While it does indicate when overtime pay is effective, it is not a cap on the number of hours an employee works.
Although it has its limitations, other laws cover claims regarding worker treatment can give a cause of action if you are facing other issues in addition to wage and hour challenges. Since many complaints of employees deal with the mere payment of wages, the protections of the FLSA seem minimal but remain effective. In 2015, the Wage and Hour Division, which enforces the FLSA, secured $246 million total for more than 240,000 workers.
Workers Covered Under The FLSA
Any employer who engages in interstate commerce must comply with the FLSA. This covers almost all employees in the United States because there are few employers who can completely avoid interstate commerce. Even if the employer does not fall under a covered enterprise in the FLSA based on its trade or annual revenue, it remains held to minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping and child labor provisions.
It does not take much to establish interstate commerce participation. Employees who work in transportation, communications, shipping, and any other activity that crosses state lines automatically receive protection. Even making or accepting telephone calls from other states solidifies this participation. There are very few businesses that can avoid this requirement so even if you feel your employer is very closely held and local, schedule a consultation with an employment attorney anyway if your wages are short-changed or unpaid.
Also, even if you work in a field that is exempt from overtime or minimum wage pay, there are still causes of action worth pursuing under the FLSA. Farmworkers, seasonal workers, outside sales employees, and executive, administrative, and professional workers (including teachers and college professors) are exempt from these rules there is still the possibility of a claim if your wages are left unpaid or underpaid.
Basically, even if you are under the impression that you work in an exempt field, these claims are worth investigating. While you may not be entitled to certain protections under the FLSA, it is still possible that your employer is acting illegally if your wages are not paid in full, paid late or not paid at all.
Filing A Wage Claim
You can file your claim with the Illinois Department of Labor and the Wage and Hours Division. To assure you do not miss any steps, consider hiring an employment law attorney first to guide you through the process and offer representation in case your claim escalates.
The Wood Law Office represents both employers and employees in the Chicago area. We offer years of experience and dedicated advocacy for wage claims. Since this can often be a confusing and complex area of the law, we recommend you contact us immediately if you believe your paychecks are mishandled. You can request an appointment on our online form or call us at 312-554-8600 to schedule your free consultation.