What are the federal wage and hour rules?

The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has been increasing their labor law violation enforcement since fiscal year 2019. In that fiscal year alone, the DOL’s WHD collected nearly $325 million in back wages, a new record for the DOL. This helped more than 215,000 employees. In turn, WHD has also increased their outreach to employers and employees to ensure that both know about the federal protections for employees.

Wage and hour lawsuits are the most common

According to DOL, the most common legal complaints are wage and hour disputes. These are filed by employees when they believe that they were paid unfairly. These complaints range from the misclassification of employees as contractors to disputes over overtime pay. And, DOL has noted that the number of alleged labor law violations has continued to rise every year.

Payroll issues

A very common wage and hour dispute happens when a San Diego and Los Angeles, California, business is having issues with payroll taxes, cash flow or even Social Security withholding issues. Though, there are several common payroll issues that may form the basis of a claim. These include holding back overtime pay and “making it up” on another check, under paying on an owed amount or trying to pay comp time as overtime.

Private employers do not have the ability to pay overtime as future time off. There is also no banking of comp time, even if a worker agrees. Skipping payments for contractors or moving employees to contractor status when their duties have not changed. Averaging hours is also not allowed. Every work week is paid as actually worked individually.

Detailed, accurate records

Another red flag that an employee should note is whether their employer is keeping detailed and accurate employment records, especially as they relate to one’s hours worked, including overtime. If an employer does not keep accurate records, this can mean that an employee may get underpaid. And, this could open up an employer to be sued for virtually any amount for unpaid hours because the employer did not accurately track those hours.