Federal Laws that Protect the Rights of Non-exempt Employees to Overtime Work and Pay

Federal Laws that Protect the Rights of Non-exempt Employees to Overtime Work and Pay

Jun 21

Federal and state laws protecting the rights of millions of employees all across America are in full implementation, making them more than enough to rid workplaces of unfair labor practices. Two federal laws that were enacted to safeguard employees’ rights were the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and the Portal-to-Portal Act. The first, also called the Wages and Hours Bill, is a federal law that gives directives on the national minimum wage, on the allowable amount of work hours per week, on how much pay employees ought to receive for overtime work and on child labor; the second, or the Portal-to-Portal Act, passed into law in 1947, states that any work performed for the employer’s benefit, regardless of time, should be taken as work time deserving compensation.

Despite these laws many unscrupulous employers continue to find ways to treat employees unjustly, with many of them even getting away with their unjust practices. Fear of losing their employment is among the major reasons why affected employees choose to be silent rather than complain against employers. One unlawful labor practice most frequently suffered by so many employees is denial of pay for overtime work rendered.

Not all employees can render overtime work, though, but those who are qualified to do so, also known as non-exempt employees, ought to receive overtime pay for all hours worked in excess to the required 40 hours work per week. And their pay, as the law orders, should be equivalent to 150 percent of their hourly rate (or time and a half). Exempt employees, or those who cannot render overtime, include executives, administrators, professionals, certain farm and agricultural workers, housekeepers, some transportation workers, external salespeople and independent contractors.

Regardless of the type of employment you have, full-time, part-time, temporary, salaried or hourly employee, in a private or public firm, so long as you are non-exempt, then you can earn overtime and ought to receive the pay that you deserve.

Overtime Dispute for Off-the-Clock Work

Overtime Dispute for Off-the-Clock Work

Jun 03

Most non-exempt employees are not aware that work done “off-the-clock” i.e. before and after a work shift or at home constitutes overtime and may be the basis for an overtime dispute. Wisconsin follows the overtime laws set under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and under the FLSA, it is perfectly possible to claim for damages for off-the-clock work. In Wisconsin, overtime is defined as hours worked in excess of 40 hours in one workweek, and must be paid at a rate of 1.5 times the regular hourly rate of the employee.

How is off-the-clock work defined?

Off-the-clock work is obviously done outside the time in-time out of employees, so there are no records kept for those hours worked unless an employer records such hours. Nevertheless, if an employee can demonstrate that time has been put in outside regular work hours for job-related tasks even if there is no time record of it, then an overtime dispute can have a positive outcome. The rationale behind this is that the employer had knowledge or a reasonable belief that such off-the-clock work was being performed because the employer controls the work and maintains records of an employee’s activities. Some of the off-the-clock work that the FLSA has deemed to be overtime work includes:

  • Equipment maintenance or preparation
  • Fielding work-related calls before and after regular work hours
  • Meal periods spent working
  • Preparing reports and other documents at home
  • Work-related meetings, conventions, seminars

When an employer fails to keep records of these off-the-record work activities, the employee may still claim those hours worked in good faith provided it benefits the employer and the employer did not forbid the performance of the work activity. In many cases, employees are under the impression that if it is not recorded, it cannot be claimed. An overtime dispute lawyer in Wisconsin will definitely know how to prepare for a case so that the employee will recover lost wages in terms of the overtime wages that was not paid in full.