Wage And Hour FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Wage and Hour Claims

If my employer pays me a set salary, does that mean I am not overtime eligible?

Being paid a set salary does not always mean you should be denied overtime. Your actual job duties, (as defined under the law and not by your employer) determine whether you should be getting overtime. It is common for employers to misclassify employees as salaried exempt in order to avoid overtime. If you are working more than 40 hours a week and only being paid a fixed amount, it is worthwhile to find out if your employer has you properly classified as "exempt" from overtime pay. Job titles are often used to fool employees into believing they are not eligible for overtime. As an example, titles such as "assistant manager," or "department supervisor," are used by employers to deny overtime pay. Such titles are often used by employers to make you think that you don't get overtime under the law. However, it is often not the case. We can assist you in determining whether overtime should be paid to you.

I am working "off the clock" before or after shifts, and sometimes having my unpaid breaks interrupted with work. Is this okay under the law?

Also, should my breaks at work be paid time?

If you are paid by the hour and eligible for overtime pay, employers may sometimes require you to be at work early and complete tasks before clocking-in, or do some work after clocking-out. This is done to avoid paying overtime for this work. Examples include any "prep" work or tasks before your shift, or post-shift tasks such as cleaning up. You may also have unpaid meal breaks routinely interrupted to perform work. If so, you are usually entitled to pay for that entire meal period. Regarding work breaks generally, under the law, all breaks 20 minutes or less in time have to be compensated. Also, some employers may ask you not to report all time, or they shave-off time reported. These tactics by employers deny employees their regular and overtime pay.

The company I work for states that I am a "contract" employee. Am I still supposed to get overtime pay?

Employers may label you as a "contract employee" in order to avoid overtime. In reality, if you examine the factors under the wage and hour laws to determine whether you are actually an "employee," overtime is often owed

Can my employer deduct money from my set salary?

If you are paid a set salary regardless of the number of hours you work, it is often illegal for your employer to deduct any money from this set salary. As an example, they cannot deduct a part of a day's pay because you missed work.

The time clock at my place of work rounds to nearest quarter hour. Is this legal?

Under some employers' time keeping systems, they will round to nearest quarter hour. As an example, if you actually clock in at 7:50 a.m. and begin work, the system will report your start time as 8:00 a.m. Such systems are legal only if the rounding equally benefits both the employer and employee over time. In reality, very few do. The reason being most employers require you to get to work early, and rarely permit you to clock in late. Data reviews of these systems often show them favoring employers over time.

I am an hourly employee who gets paid bonuses and/or commission pay. When they pay me overtime, is this other income supposed to be included?

If you do get paid overtime, when calculating your overtime pay, the employer is supposed to include all income earned. This would include all nondiscretionary bonus income and commissions. Some employers fail to include this income when calculating and paying overtime. This practice denies you substantial overtime.

Instead of paying overtime, my employer allows me to leave early in following workweeks. Is this "comp time" legal?

Your employer has designated you as overtime eligible, but instead of paying overtime, they let you leave work early or come in late during a following week (this is often referred to as "comp time"). As a general rule, giving "comp time" in a following week instead of paying overtime is illegal.