Posts Tagged ‘FL overtime wage’

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Are You Owed An Overtime Wage Under Florida Law?

December 18, 2009

One of the primary laws dealing with overtime in the U. S. is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which was passed in 1937. The United States adopted the Act in order to set certain wage standards and guidelines for employers. The FLSA requires that employees who work overtime be paid for the additional time they have worked beyond the standard 40 hour work week. In addition to the FLSA, the state of Florida also has a separate set of regulations that employers must follow when it comes to paying overtime for their employees.

  • In Florida, overtime wage payments are structured to go along with the U.S. guidelines. Often, though, an employer may ask an employee to do something that seems innocent, such as requesting them to check company email or answer an office-related text message over their lunch break, or maybe staying a few minutes late so they can wrap up a meeting. They may require employees to set up or put away equipment before or after normal working hours or may not pay for time spent on legally mandated breaks. If this has happened to you and you are a non-exempt employee, you may be entitled to an overtime wage claim in Florida. All of this unpaid time can add up, too: if you only work an extra 20-30 minutes a day doing these "extras", that means you are working unpaid for at least two hours a week. Figured at $12.00 an hour over a two year period, your employer could owe you $2,500.00!
  • Most "salaried" employees are entitled to an overtime wage payment! In many cases, being paid a salary just means the employee gets paid the same amount of money each week. Your status as an exempt or non-exempt employee is what determines your eligibility for overtime pay.
  • Some employees work over a two-week pay period that adds up to an average of forty hours a week (an example would be when you work 35 hours in one week and 45 hours in the second week). It is not allowable for an employer to average your work hours between two weeks to determine overtime pay. In cases like this, you may be entitled to overtime pay for the second week if you are a non-exempt employee.
  • Employers can not give you comp time off instead of paying you overtime wages. This is a violation of the FLSA.
  • The FLSA and the Florida wage laws prohibit employers from punishing or firing an employee who has asserted his or her rights to overtime wages.
  • The FLSA allows employees two years to file an overtime lawsuit or three years if the employer’s violation was willful. Employees and former employees should file a claim with a Florida overtime wage attorney as soon as possible after a suspected violation so the attorney can put the strongest possible case together.

Even though the FLSA is supposed to provide regulations that provide that all employees are treated fairly, some employers routinely fail to pay their employees overtime pay, even if they do not intentionally try to get out of doing it. The overtime wage laws are confusing and complex – it is easy for employers to either misinterpret the FSLA or try to get around the law to avoid paying their employees a Florida overtime wage.

Florida overtime attorney Joseph M. Maus can help if you have a question or need information on Florida overtime wage claims. Contact him at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today for a free consultation. The Law Office of Joseph M. Maus and Associates has handled some of the largest Florida overtime wage claims. Attorneys in their offices were recently appointed in Federal Court as lead counsel in an Overtime Class Action against a large Fortune 500 Company.

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Checking Office Email on Your PDA? You Might be Owed Overtime Pay Under the Florida Overtime Wage Laws!

October 30, 2009

Let’s face it – the PDA the office gave you can be both a blessing and a curse! So can your office cell phone or Blackberry, for that matter. While it is great to be able to work from home and access your office information at any time, these devices are "electronic leashes" that can keep you plugged into the company 24/7. There are many employees out there who are still checking office email and returning phone calls from home long after the work day has ended. Because this type of technology is still fairly new, the laws are scrambling to keep up with the changes. The bottom line, though, is that your employer may owe you a Florida overtime wage if you check office email, text, or answer work-related phone calls after hours or off the clock.

  • If nothing else, employers should be aware that their exposure to overtime liability increases when employees use company PDAs.
  • Recently, several large companies such as T-Mobile, Verizon, BD Richard Ellis, and Lincare have been sued for back overtime pay resulting from employee use of cell phones and PDAs to text and to check email after working hours.
  • Lower-level workers (meaning non-executives) are often classified as non-exempt employees when it comes to the Federal overtime wage laws. If you are a non-exempt employee and have been issued a PDA, it increases the possibility that you won’t be properly compensated for time you have worked because of the need to frequently check the device for new messages. Checking email with a PDA is considered "work" and the practice can violate Federal Labor Standards Act and state wage laws due to adding extra working time to your day.
  • Working on a time-sensitive project? On-call? Often, an employee who carries a PDA or Blackberry can feel the need to constantly monitor and respond to emails and texts received on their PDA. After all, it would seem to be a hallmark of a good employee, right? While this may seem harmless because text messages and emails can be read and responded to quickly, it can lead to an employee who is "constantly" working. A prime example is the employee who carries a PDA and receives a message – just the act of reading the message, even without responding to it, can mean the employee was considered to be working. A message here, a message there – they can add up over the course of a week, month, or a year.
  • Checking email for updates, even during a lunch hour or a break period can mean you end up working more than the standard amount of hours per week. Things can get even more out of hand if you work for a company with a nationwide sales staff. This might mean checking in with employees on the opposite coast before or after your normal work hours because of time differences.The FLSA and Florida overtime wage laws require non-exempt employees to be paid for all time actually worked.

About 86% of the American workforce falls under the category of non-exempt employees according to the U. S. Department of Labor. If you have been given a PDA and you check office emails and send and receive work-related text messages, doing so may extend your work week beyond the standard of forty hours a week. The 20-30 or so minutes per week you innocently spend on office email after hours can add up to a lot of overtime during the course of a year. And, that means you may be entitled to overtime under the FLSA and the Florida overtime wage laws.

If you have a question or need information about PDA use and the Florida overtime wage laws, contact Florida overtime attorney Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529, visit his website at http://www.mauslawfirm.com, or email him today. The Law Office of Joseph M. Maus and Associates has handled some of the largest Florida overtime wage claims. Attorneys in their office were recently appointed in Federal Court as lead counsel in an Overtime Class Action against a large Fortune 500 Company. Call their offices today for a free consultation or to obtain more information on Florida overtime wage claims.

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Americans Continue To Get Short-Changed On Overtime – Florida Overtime Wage Information

September 25, 2009

The Fair Labor Standards Act requires most employers to pay their employees one and one half times their regular rate of pay for any hours worked in excess of forty (40) hours per work week.  This law applies to employees who are being paid on a hourly basis, being paid a salary, and even those paid by tips, such as waitresses and bartenders.  Although this law seems simple and common sense, thousands of workers each day are not being paid their overtime pay by their employer.

 A recent study found that the failure to pay overtime wages continues to occur at an alarming rate and affects many different types of wage earners.   In a report entitled “Broken laws, unprotected workers”, a joint report by the University of Illinois Center for Urban Economic Development, the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, and The National Employment Law Project, it was determined that non-payment of overtime wages as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act, continues to be a huge problem for America’s workers. 

      Concluded in 2008, the study reviewed more than 4,000 workers in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City.  The study found that the most common overtime violations were: 

  • More than 25% of the workers involved in the study worked more than 40 hours per week but were not paid one and one half times their regular rate of pay.  The average worker had put in 11 hours of overtime that were either not paid for at all, or not paid at the correct overtime rate.
  • Off the clock violations – Close to 25% of the workers came in early, or stayed late after their shift ended.  Close to 70% of these people did not receive any pay at all for the work they performed once their regular shift ended.
  • Meal break violations – Employers are required to provide a meal break.  Most of the people studied (86%) worked enough hours to be entitled to a meal break, yet were not allowed one.  Close to 70% received no meal break at all, or had their break shortened by interruptions from their employer or required to work during their lunch break.
  • Tipped job violations – The Fair Labor Standards Act requires tipped employees to be paid their overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per work week.  Of the workers involved in the study, 30% were not paid the tipped minimum wage, in addition to their overtime wages.

The study is somewhat alarming in that it involved so many workers nationwide, yet the overtime wage violations were so frequent.  These same types of violations occur in Florida with workers not being paid their Florida overtime wage

If you have a question or need a free consultation to determine whether you are being paid the correct amount on your Florida overtime wage, contact Florida overtime attorney Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today. Attorney Joseph M. Maus is an overtime wage claim lawyer specializing in Florida overtime wage claims.  Mr. Maus served has served as Class Counsel on some of the largest Florida overtime wage claims in recent history. 

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Keeping Track of Overtime Wages In Florida

September 9, 2009

WHO GETS OVERTIME PAY 

      The Fair Labor Standards Act is a Federal Law that requires most employers to pay their employees one and one half times their hourly rate of pay for hours worked in excess of forty (4) hours per work week.   

      Many employees will hear their employer tell them their position is “exempt” or “non-exempt”.  This is a legalese way of indicating whether your position is paid your overtime wages, or whether you do not get your overtime wages.  An exempt employee means that they are exempt from the overtime pay provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and as such, they do not get overtime pay.  On the other hand, a  non-exempt employee, means that they are not exempt from the overtime pay provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and are entitled to be paid their overtime pay. 

      However, the Fair Labor Standards Act is full of exceptions and exemptions allowing some employers to not pay overtime wages.  For instance, in most instances, teachers and long haul truck drivers, are exempt from being paid overtime.   

      Two of the more relied upon exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act are the “administrative employee” exemption and the “professional employee” exemption.  In order to determine whether a person falls under one of these exemptions, a thorough examination of a persons job responsibilities and duties should be conducted. 

ADMINISTRATIVE EXEMPTION 

      The Administrative Exemption is probably the most popular exemptions employers attempt to use in denying their employees their overtime pay.  In order to qualify for the Administrative Employee Exemption, all of the following conditions must be met: 

      1. The employee must be compensated on salary not less than $455.00 per week;

      2. The employee’s primary duty must be the performance of office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers; and

      3. The employee’s primary duty includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.   

It is this second and third conditions that usually cannot be satisfied by an employer. 

      The Administrative Exemption requires the employee, as one of his/her main and most important duties, to perform work directly related the running or servicing of a business.  Examples of this include: working in the areas of tax, finance, accounting and budgeting, purchasing, advertising, marketing, human resources, computer networking, internet administration and similar activities.  However, these employees must use the exercise of discretion and independent judgment in their jobs.  For instance, in order to exercise discretion and independent judgment, an employee must do more than apply well established techniques, procedures or specific standards set out by the company such as processing orders or communicating with clients. 

PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYEES EXEMPTION  

      The Professional Employees Exemption is similar to the Administrative Exemption in that it requires: 

      1. The employee must be compensated at a rate of no less than $455.00 per week;

      2. The employee’s primary duty must be the performance of work requiring advance knowledge, defined as work which is predominantly intellectual in character and which includes work requiring the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment;

      3. The advanced knowledge must be in the field of science or learning; and

      4. Customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction. 

Jobs of this nature are different than work involving routine mental, manual, mechanical or physical work.  Jobs that fall under the professional exemption can be jobs in the field of law, medicine, theology, accounting, engineering, architecture, sciences, pharmacy and other jobs that have a recognized professional status.  Again, a detailed investigation of your job duties and responsibilities is required in most instances to determine whether a “professional” employee gets overtime wages in Florida and other states.  For instance, while a Certified Public Accountant may not be entitled to overtime wages in Florida, a Junior Accountant simply preparing tax forms may.  

      If you are entitled to overtime pay, it does not matter whether you are being paid by salary, an hourly rate of pay, or even being paid by commissions.  The vast majority of workers in the United States are entitled to be paid overtime wages for hours worked in excess of forty (40) hours per work week. 

      To fully evaluate whether you are being paid the correct amount of overtime pay, or to figure out why your employer is not paying you Florida overtime wages, contact Florida overtime attorney Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today. The Law Office of Joseph M. Maus and Associates has handled some of the largest Florida overtime wage claims. Attorneys in their office were recently appointed in Federal Court as lead counsel in an Overtime Class Action against a large Fortune 500 Company. Call their offices today for a free consultation or to obtain more information on Florida overtime wages.

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Florida Overtime Wage Claims – Does your Employer Owe You Money?

August 11, 2009

The recent downturn in the economy has led many employers to make hard decisions about how to most effectively reduce costs while continuing to run a business and keep it profitable through a recession. Because employee wages represent an area that can be trimmed or scaled back, many businesses have been forced to lay off workers. But these job cuts can mean an increase in work for the remaining employees who have to pick up the workload of the people who have been laid off. This has often resulted in the remaining employees investing longer hours or weekend hours at the workplace so they can keep up with the higher demand. But, did you know that overtime wages is a common area where employers take advantage of their workers? These overworked employees should protect themselves by becoming familiar with the applicable labor laws.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was passed in 1937. It is one of the primary laws dealing with overtime. The FLSA established a legal work week of 40 hours and mandated a special overtime rate of one and one-half times the normal wages for any hours worked beyond that limit. In some cases, the Fair Labor Standards Act provides employees with a means of suing for back overtime pay for up to three years from the date their lawsuit is filed.

Employers may try to "get away" with not paying overtime by incorrectly categorizing employees to get around the law. You may still have a Florida overtime wage claim and be entitled to further compensation even if you are:

  • Improperly counted as an independent contractor – if you are generally controlled by the company, you are not an independent contractor.
  • Required to get overtime pay/hours approved – if you are working overtime but are not being paid for it because overtime has not been approved, you may have a Florida overtime wage claim.
  • Paid with tips – you can not be required to share tips with managers, cooks or chefs, dishwashers or other not-entitled employees. (While this is not really overtime, it is nice to know.)
  • On call – if you are required to be at meetings or training periods outside of business hours that you are not compensated for, you may have an overtime wage case.
  • Improper recording of hours worked – this applies to employees who work beyond "set" time periods (example: your wage stops at 5:00 p.m., but you are required to clean up and put away equipment after that time, and are not paid additional wages for the additional time worked).

Many employees who feel they are not being properly compensated for overtime worked are afraid that if they file a Florida overtime wage claim, they may lose their job or incur other punishments, especially with the economy in turmoil. These workers should be assured that the FLSA prohibits employers from retaliating against a worker who asserts his or her rights.

Employees who believe they fall under any of the above categories and think they may be owed overtime under the FLSA should contact a professional overtime attorney. These experienced attorneys know the complex labor laws extremely well and can help you recover the Florida overtime wage that may be owed to you, in addition to potential damage claims.

If you have a question or need information about Florida overtime wage claims, contact Florida overtime attorney Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529, visit his website at http://www.jmmlawyers.com, or email him today. The Law Office of Joseph M. Maus and Associates has handled some of the largest Florida overtime wage claims. Attorneys in their office were recently appointed in Federal Court as lead counsel in an Overtime Class Action against a large Fortune 500 Company. Call their offices today for a free consultation or to obtain more information on Florida overtime wage claim

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8 Ways Employers Bend The Florida Overtime Wage Laws

December 30, 2008

The Fair Labor and Standards Act (FLSA) requires employees who work overtime to be paid for the additional work they have done beyond the standard 40 hour work week. Even though this law is supposed to make things standard across the country so all employees are treated fairly, some employers routinely "cheat" their employees out of overtime pay, even if they do it unintentionally. Because the law is confusing and complex, it is easy for employers to either misinterpret the FSLA or to "bend" the law to avoid paying their employees fair compensation for time worked.

In order to decide if you are owed an overtime wage in Florida, you need to consult with an attorney who is familiar with the law in your state. Even though the FLSA standardizes the wage laws, states have certain variations of the law, but the following represent some job categories that typically don’t pay overtime, even though the employee may really be entitled to it:

  1. Putting in hours "off the clock" – does your employer require you to perform duties before or after your work day starts or ends? An example would be a dental office employee who is required to turn on equipment before clocking in for the morning, or to close down the equipment before leaving for the day and after clocking out.
  2. Unpaid breaks or working through lunch – you may be owed an overtime wage if your Florida employer does not pay you for breaks of more than 5 minutes and less than 20 minutes or if you are required to clock out for lunch, but must complete work-related duties during your lunch break.
  3. Taking home work – if you take work home with you, generally the employer must pay you for that additional work time.
  4. Meetings or training – are you are required to attend a meeting or do some training outside of work hours? An example would be a morning "briefing" before clocking in.
  5. Pre-approval of overtime – do you need to get pre-approval before working overtime? If your employer will not pay for unapproved overtime even if you work extra hours, talk to a Florida attorney about that overtime wage!
  6. Combining work weeks – if you work more than 40 hours in a week, you should be paid for overtime that week even if your employer combines two or more weeks on a paycheck. For example, some employees get paid bi-weekly or semi-monthly which means an employer may refuse to pay overtime for the first week at, say, 45 hours when the second week is less than 40 hours because they’ll combine the two to get a total of 80 hours or less.
  7. On call – if you are required to be ‘on call’ and must report to work on short notice, you may be entitled to overtime pay.
  8. Fancy job title – you may have a snappy job title that makes you feel important (and means the employer thinks he can get away with not paying you overtime). For example, if you are a "supervisor" but don’t actually supervise anything, see a lawyer about those Florida overtime wage laws!

If you are reading this and you’ve worked more than 40 hours a week more often than you’d like to think about, consider that you might be able to collect an overtime wage in Florida. Florida attorney Joseph M. Maus says "Don’t wait too long to consult with an attorney. The FLSA only permits an employee to recover up to two years (sometimes three years if the employer’s violation is found to have been willfull) of unpaid back-wages. With every day that passes, you lose valuable time in which to recover your overtime".

If you have a question or need information on Florida overtime wage claims, contact Florida overtime attorney Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today. The Law Office of Joseph M. Maus and Associates has handled some of the largest Florida overtime wage claims. Attorneys in their offices were recently appointed in Federal

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6 Reasons You May Be Owed An Overtime Wage In Florida

December 11, 2008

Most employees go to work, put in their forty hours, and collect their wages a couple of times a month. Occasionally an employer will ask workers to stay late or come in early if workloads are heavier than expected. Usually these workers are paid overtime for the extra hours they put in. However some employees may be working overtime routinely for no additional compensation even if they are entitled to it. You are qualified to collect an overtime wage in Florida if you work more than forty hours in a week, even if:

  • You are paid a salary
  • You are a tipped employee
  • Your job title is manager, but you do very little managerial work
  • You are paid on a piece work or per trip basis
  • You are not a U.S. Citizen
  • You don’t have records of all the hours you worked

Many jobs seem to feel that employees "belong" to the company even after their regular workday has ended. Workers can’t seem to escape the office, especially now, when cell phones, Blackberries and other devices can keep them on an electronic leash. We’ve all seen the harried worker pacing the sidewalk outside a restaurant, cell phone glued to his ear, while his family eats dinner without him. Or the Mom who sneaks out during her daughter’s school play because the office is on the phone. Most of the time, this extra duty is given to the employer without compensation in return. But, the Fair Labor Standards Act requires workers to be paid overtime after 40 hours of work in a week, so should these employees be paid overtime?

In general, the Department of Labor says a company that has $500,000 or more in annual sales needs to pay it’s employees an overtime wage in Florida. And hospitals, businesses providing medical or nursing care for residents, schools and preschools, and government agencies must pay overtime. The Fair Labor Standards Act (see http://www.dol.gov) also covers "individual workers who are ‘engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce.’ Examples of employees who are involved in interstate commerce include those who: produce goods (such as a worker assembling components in a factory or a secretary typing letters in an office) that will be sent out of state, regularly make telephone calls to persons located in other States, handle records of interstate transactions, travel to other States on their jobs, and do janitorial work in buildings where goods are produced for shipment outside the State" and they all must be paid an overtime wage in Florida. In addition, the FLSA says "domestic service workers (such as housekeepers, full-time babysitters, and cooks) are normally covered by the law". So, even if you work for a local company that has no connections to another state, you are probably still covered by the FLSA.

The Fair Labor Standards Act says it "requires overtime pay for covered, non-exempt employees at a rate of not less than one and one-half times an employee’s regular rate of pay after 40 hours of work in a workweek. Some exceptions to the 40 hours per week standard apply under special circumstances to police officers and firefighters employed by public agencies and to employees of hospitals and nursing homes. Some states also have enacted overtime laws."

So, you’ve worked more than 40 hours a week more often than you’d like to think about and now you’re questioning whether you might be able to collect an overtime wage in Florida. "Don’t wait too long", says Florida attorney Joseph M. Maus. "The FLSA only permits an employee to recover up to two years (sometimes three years if the employer’s violation is found to have been willfull) of unpaid back-wages. With every day that passes, you lose valuable time in which to recover your overtime".

In Florida, an overtime wage must be paid to most workers if they have worked overtime hours. This is equal to time-and-a-half or 150% of their normal pay rate. There are exceptions to this rule, but they can be confusing. Your job duties, the Federal FLSA, and the number of hours worked all come into play when determining whether an employee is eligible for overtime pay. It is best to consult an attorney who is experienced in Florida overtime wage law to find out if you are due more pay for the hours you have worked.

If you have a question or need information on Florida overtime wage claims, contact Florida overtime attorney Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today. The Law Office of Joseph M. Maus and Associates has handled some of the largest Florida overtime wage claims. Attorneys in their office were recently appointed in Federal Court as lead counsel in an Overtime Class Action against a large Fortune 500 Company. Call their offices today for a free consultation or to obtain more information on Florida overtime wage claims.

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