Wage & Hour Claims

Understanding Your Wage and Overtime Rights in PA

While many companies comply with the wage and overtime laws, others routinely violate laws protecting the wage and overtime rights of hard-working American workers like you. No one should work for free.

What is "Off-the-Clock" Work?

Some companies fail to give payroll credit for all the time in which employees are engaged in activities that benefit the company. Such “off-the-clock” work is usually illegal even if the work was “voluntarily.” 

Some common examples of illegal “off-the-clock” work include: 

  • Time spent traveling between clients
  • Time spent in training or pre-shift meetings
  • Time spent working during lunch or rest breaks
  • Time spent “charting” or doing paperwork outside of the workplace
  • Time spent gathering gear or equipment at the beginning of the workday
  • Time spent setting-up, cleaning, or closing-down at the beginning or end of the workday

Types of Employees in Pennsylvania 

Salaried Employees

Some companies pay workers a salary (instead of an hourly wage) to tell workers they are not entitled to overtime pay because of their job title. But, in fact, many salaried workers are entitled to overtime pay. Whether a salaried worker is entitled to overtime pay depends on his/her actual job duties, not on the job title provided by the company.

Tipped Employees

Many servers, bussers, bartenders, and other restaurant employees are paid through a combination of hourly wages and tips. Restaurants that pay employees in this manner must follow strict rules that apply to "tip- pooling" and "tip-sharing" and that limit the type of work a tipped employee may perform. Restaurants frequently break these rules, so please call if you work in a restaurant and have any questions about your pay. Our firm understands the rules and has recovered millions of dollars for restaurant employees.

Independent Contractors 

Some companies deny workers with many legal protections and benefits (including the right to overtime pay) by calling them “independent contractors” instead of “employees.” But whether a worker truly is an independent contractor depends on the real-life circumstances of his employment. A worker is not an independent contractor just because he signed a contract that labeled him a contractor.

Which Employees Are Not Paid by the Hour?

Many workers paid by the job, by the day, or by commission think they are not entitled to overtime pay just because they are not paid on an “hourly” basis. This is wrong. In fact, millions of employees paid on a job-rate, day-rate, or commissioned basis are entitled to extra overtime pay when they work over 40 hours in a week.

What Does Exempt and Non-Exempt Mean?

Exempt and non-exempt are terms used to classify employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in the United States. The FLSA is a federal law that regulates minimum wage, overtime pay, and other employment standards for both exempt and non-exempt employees.

  • Exempt: Exempt employees are typically salaried workers who are exempt from receiving overtime pay, meaning they do not receive additional pay for working more than 40 hours per week. Exempt employees are generally professional, administrative, or executive employees who perform certain types of duties, such as managing other employees, exercising independent judgment, or performing work that requires advanced knowledge or specialized skills. Examples of exempt employees may include doctors, lawyers, managers, and IT professionals.
  • Non-Exempt: Non-exempt employees are typically paid an hourly wage and must be paid overtime at a rate of one and a half times their regular pay for any hours worked over 40 hours per week. Non-exempt employees are typically considered to be blue-collar or manual labor workers who perform relatively routine work that is subject to oversight and direction by management. Examples of non-exempt employees may include retail workers, food service employees, and administrative support staff.

It's important for employers to properly classify their employees as exempt or non-exempt, as misclassification can result in legal and financial consequences. If you're unsure about your classification or if you believe you have been misclassified, speak with an employment law attorney for guidance.

Miscalculation of Work Time & Overtime Pay

Some (but not nearly all) of the common violations include: “rounding” employees’ clock-in and clock-out times in a manner that always benefits the company; avoiding overtime pay by splitting the week’s hours into separate paychecks; using a “comp time” system to shift overtime hours from the week worked into a sub-40 hour week; basing time-and-one-half overtime pay on a pay rate that does not include commissions, bonuses, or shift differentials; paying salaried employees “half-time” for their overtime work; calculating time-and-one-half overtime based on the week’s lowest pay rate; failing to combine hours worked at different pay rates in determining whether 40 hours were worked.

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