In order to make things fair in the workplace, the federal government established the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This outlines guidelines for overtime pay, minimum wage, youth employment standards, and recordkeeping for employees in the government and private sector. Many states also have laws that cover overtime and wages, so even if your employer does not fall under FLSA, there are probably state laws to protect you.
1. Am I eligible for overtime wages?
In regards to overtime, employees must fall under certain categories in order to be entitled to overtime pay. These include the following:
- Salary status: overtime pay usually only applies for non-salaried workers. This determination is based on whether or not the employee has a minimum amount of wages that are guaranteed. Those with a guaranteed minimum are considered to be salaried employees and are not eligible for overtime pay.
- Income level: employees who make less than $455 per week ($23,600) are eligible for overtime wages
- Duties: overtime pay is based on the type of activities that your job entails. In general, if you are a manager or have supervisory roles on any given shift, you are likely not eligible for overtime pay.
Type of job: characteristic jobs that are not eligible for overtime include:
- Independent contractors
- Baby sitters
- Amusement park employees
- Small farm employees
- Newspaper deliverers
- Outside salespeople
- Computer specialists2. Do I get paid for required training?
If training is required, you should be receiving pay for your time spent. Training examples include sexual harassment training, workplace safety classes, and mandatory orientation.
3. If I get paid in tips, am I still eligible for minimum wage pay?
The FLSA does not require that tipped workers also receive minimum wage, so ultimately this is determined by each individual state. Individuals whose job depends largely on tips can be paid as little as $2.13 per hour per federal law. In these circumstances, the total hourly wage you earn between tips and wages must equal the federal minimum wage for every hour you are on the clock.
4. Are my breaks considered to be unpaid time?
While required breaks are not required by federal law, short breaks of five to 20 minutes are considered to be work hours that count towards the total amount of time worked during the week. Some breaks are regulated per state, so it helps to check your state and local laws.
5. What type of break do I get for maternity leave and is it paid time?
This is covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and covered employers are required to provide leave for up to 12 weeks. This leave time is unpaid and covers the following situations:
The employee needs to take care of a child, spouse, or parent who has a serious health conditionIn order to be eligible under the FMLA, employees must satisfy the following criteria:
- Have worked for a minimum of 12 months total for the employer
- Work for an employer who is covered by FMLA
- Work where there are 50 or more employees, or work at a location within 75 miles of one that does
- Work a minimum of 1,250 hours during the 12 months leading up to the start of leave6. I am in the military and have been deployed. Do I get my job back upon return?The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) prohibits employer discrimination based on military service. Employers are required to reemploy returning members to the job they would have achieved prior to service, with the same pay, status, seniority, and benefits.
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.