Wage and hour laws were established to regulate the time people spend working and payment received for their work. These laws address topics such as minimum hourly wages, what qualifies as time worked, overtime, tips, and breaks for meals or rest. It behooves employers to fully understand wage and hour laws to ensure they are in compliance.
Minimum Wage in Rhode Island
In Rhode Island, the minimum wage is $9.60 per hour worked. This amount is greater than the federally mandated minimum wage of $7.25. With few exceptions, employees in Rhode Island are entitled to the higher, state rate.
Minimum Wage of Tipped Workers: In Rhode Island, employers can pay workers who earn tips $3.39 per hour. However, their total earnings including tips must amount to the state’s minimum wage. The federal regulations operate on the same principle, allowing employers to pay tipped workers less than minimum wage provided their total earnings add up to $7.25 per hour. Rhode Island employers are subject to the state’s law.
Does Minimum Wage Apply to Me: Most employers in Rhode Island are subject to wage and hour laws. The state does permit exceptions, however, for minors between the ages of 14 and 15 who work 24 hours or fewer per week, domestic workers, and traveling and outside salespersons. For more information on who is exempt and who is covered, refer to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training Workforce Regulation and Safety Division.
When Are Raises Required: Rhode Island’s wage and hour regulations do not cover raises. Rather, increases in pay are based on agreements between employer and employee. Typically, raises are dependent upon workers’ overall productivity, their quality of work and other factors.
Work Hours in Rhode Island
Neither federal law nor the state of Rhode Island sets limits on the number of hours employees can work in a day or a week. All employees who are 18 or older are able to work as many hours in a day and a week they deem appropriate.
Paying Overtime: Most employers in Rhode Island are required to pay employees overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week. The rate for overtime pay is 1 1/2 times workers’ regular pay rates. There are some workers who may be exempt or choose to receive compensatory time off that equals 1 1/2 times the hours they worked in excess of 40 hours during a week.
Guaranteed Breaks and Meals: Rhode Island law specifies that workers must receive one paid 20-minute meal break during each six-hour shift they work or one paid 30-minute meal break during an eight-hour shift. The regulations do not require that employers provide workers with paid rest breaks during their shifts. There is an exception, however, for nursing mothers. Rhode Island and federal law specify that nursing mothers must be allowed time to breastfeed or express milk for up to one year after they give birth. Rhode Island’s regulations stipulate this should be done during meal breaks whenever possible.
Paid Time-off and Sick Pay: Rhode Island employers do not have to offer paid time-off or sick pay to their employees, and there are no federal mandates for these topics. Any arrangements with regards to paid vacation or sick time can be arranged between employers and their employees.
Notice Period for Employee Termination: Rhode Island is an employment-at-will state. Thus, employers are permitted to end employment for any reason at any time, unless they have a contract with their workers that specifies otherwise.
Plant Closings & Layoffs: Under certain circumstances, employers in the state of Rhode Island must provide 60 days’ notice when they are closing plants or laying off employees. Rhode Island’s regulation specifies that this applies to employers who employ 75 or more full-time workers. The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act provides the same stipulations, but covers employers who have more than 100 full-time workers.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.