As many workers are aware, Obama-era changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) set to be implemented in November were placed on hold by a federal judge, and it is unlikely that the salary threshold will be raised to the level suggested at the time. The threshold was set to be raised to $913/week or ($47,476 a year) to qualify as an “exempt” employee. Thus, workers making less than the threshold could potentially be entitled to overtime pay. The new Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary, Alex Acosta, has suggested that perhaps a more modest increase is necessary, from the current $24,000/year to $30,000/year, but has expressed some reluctance until it is clear what authority the DOL has to implement such changes in the first place.
Thus, in the meantime the threshold remains as is. However, workers and employers may be confused concerning their current rights and duties under the FLSA as it stands. The FLSA provides that workers are entitled to be paid at least minimum wage and non-exempt workers are entitled to be paid overtime wages at a rate of one and one half their standard rate of pay. Common issues that occur include misclassifications of workers – whether improperly designating employees as independent contractors, or non-exempt workers as exempt (and thus denying them overtime pay). Further, employers may make errors calculating “standard rate of pay.” A recent case found in favor of employees where a city paid the workers cash benefits if they did not opt in to their health insurance. The court determined that the city violated overtime laws by not including the cash benefits as pay, noting that “regular rate” (or standard rate) includes “all remuneration for employment paid to, or on behalf of, the employee.”
Other violations may occur when you are not compensated for all time worked, or where you are required to work through lunches/breaks leading to potential minimum wage or overtime violations.
For more information, or if you have any questions concerning the FLSA or believe you are not receiving all of the compensation you are entitled to, please contact the experienced Atlanta wage and hour lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.