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Get The Overtime You Are Entitled To

Employees are entitled to benefits for working hard and putting in more hours than the employer requires them to work in a normal working week. Sometimes deadlines, excessive work loads and the need to prioritize will result in employees staying late or starting early to ensure they meet their deadlines and fulfill their role as an employee. Overtime pay is something that causes a great deal of dispute between employees and their employer, and there are many cases where employers attempt to avoid paying staff the money they are owed for additional work. There are some typical tricks that employers use as a way around the overtime pay laws, often meaning employees are left working harder and longer for nothing…

Know overtime pay laws“Salary Based” or “Exempt”  Employee

Employers will often try to mislead permanent employees into believing that a salary means they are not entitled to overtime pay or additional wages. There are certain types of staff members that are not entitled to receive benefits such as overtime pay, and these members are often used to complete the extra work to prevent overtime being paid. Determining whether an employee is exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is an employer’s responsibility.

There are two requirements that must be met to classify an employee as exempt:

1) they must earn a salary and

2) They must hold a position with duties the U.S. Labor Department designates as appropriate for exempt positions.

Those positions generally fall into six categories:

  1. Executive
  2. Administrative
  3. Learned professional
  4. Computer professional
  5. Creative professional
  6. Outside sales.

However some jobs are excluded from coverage by the FLSA, they include movie theater employees and agricultural workers. Some other employees are covered under other federal laws rather than the FLSA such as Rail Road workers and truck drivers. However, even if you fall in one of the above categories you must meet some other qualifications in order to be “exempt” from the FSLA and thus not be eligible for overtime. You must earn at least $23,600 per year and be paid on a salary basis. This means you receive your full pay for any week that you work at all. So you get full pay even if you only work one hour that week. And your salary can’t be reduced based on “quality or quantity of work” performed. FLSA is under the authority of the Department of Labor. See the Government FSLA site for more clarification.

Employee Classification

Employees are often labelled as independent contractors when they are in fact full employees; independent contractors are not usually entitled to benefits such as overtime pay.

Employee Discouragement

Employers will often gently persuade employees to fill in their time sheet incorrectly or clock in and out at different times, to show they haven’t worked additional hours when in fact they have.

On Call Employees

Being on call means that an employee’s free time is not always free, but employers will often claim that because it is out of working hours and away from the office, that it does not require payment.

Off Duty Duties

Employees can be expected to be in early for meetings or preparation for the day ahead or even asked to stay later for additional duties, without payment.

Employees Working at Home

Working from home is not always enforced but when it is, there is usually no benefit of this other than for the employer.

Employee Clocking In

Employers will ask staff to wait until a certain time before clocking in to make sure they do not have to cover the costs of an early start or a late finish.

Employee Volunteers

There will be times when employees feel obligated to volunteer to help with something work related during their free time, and employers see this as simply them donating their time.

Employee Lunches

Employers will purposefully ignore the fact their employees work through their lunch breaks and offer no alternative or appreciation.

There are so many industries within the job sector that are more notorious than others when it comes to the issue of overtime pay. The oil and gas industry has recently come under fire for its treatment of staff; all employees should receive overtime for any hours worked over the typical 40 hour week, but instead, employers are either misclassifying their staff as independent contractors or are simply offering a day rate which does not include overtime.

The oil and gas industry has added an additional 4,000 jobs in recent months, which has caused more people to take notice of the pay and overtime regulations that are in place. The industry previously suffered a 30% decline but since the advancements in onshore drilling, the job figures are on the rise.

It is vital that a flourishing industry is not deemed to be unfair to employees, as well as not to be seen be working against legislation that are so firmly in place, or the sector will not be able to repair the damage caused by economical problems such as the recession.

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