Common Overtime Pay Violations Experienced by Nurses

Thanks to the Fair Labor Standards Act, employees working in America are able to receive protection from any unfair labor practices. Among the many things that the FLSA assures employees is their right to receive proper wages for work rendered outside their regular 40-hour weekly schedule. Overtime pay should be no less than 1.5 times more than an employee’s regular rate of pay. For employees earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, overtime pay should mean getting an additional $3.63. This should mean that minimum wage employees should be paid $10.88 for every hour worked over their typical schedule.

While the FLSA identifies certain professions as exempted from overtime pay, a lot of employers insist on short-changing even those employees that do qualify for the additional 1.5 hourly rate. Among the many workers that experience overtime pay violations are nurses and other healthcare employees in nursing homes and assisted living centers. Common violations experienced by these individuals include being required to work off the clock and having time deducted from their meal period. It’s also common for these employees to have to start preparing for work before the official start of their shift and continue working long after their shift ends. Sometimes, nurses are also required to go to meetings, seminars, and training programs without being properly paid for their time. According to Leichter Law, many nurses are misclassified by their employers, identifying them as exempt employees simply because they are salaried employees. This is especially true for LVNs and LPNs. They do not qualify as exempt professionals and are entitled to the same overtime pay regulations charted in the FLSA.

Aside from nurses, many other individuals experience overtime pay violations and aren’t able to receive proper compensation for all their hard work. Whether you are a salaried employee, independent contractor, or hourly employee, unless your profession is explicitly exempted by the FLSA, you are entitled to receive overtime wages at the government-mandated rate.

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Violation of Minimum Wage Laws

All across the US, employees are protected by federal and state laws against employment discrimination, especially where wage and overtime pay are the issues. Besides the anti- discrimination laws, there are also laws that specifically specify the lawful number of working hours within a week, the minimum wage, who can render overtime work and the computation for overtime pay.

The Wages and Hours Bill, more commonly known as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which the US Congress passed into law in 1938, is the specific ordinance that mandates both private and public employers on just wages. But while the federal law may determine the minimum wage employees across the nation ought to receive, state laws may also determine an amount which may be higher (never lower) than the federally stated daily minimum pay.

In its website, Cary Kane LLP, clearly explains that while employers, who meet the tests covered by federal law, ought to pay their employees the minimum hourly wage of $7.25, this pay falls lower than the stated-mandated minimum hourly pay in New York, which is $8.00 per hour (with a scheduled increase of 75 cents per hour both in 2015 and 2016) – the amount employees in New York have all the legal right to claim.

Despite the federal law (in general) and the state law, in particular, however, many employees, especially undocumented workers, are robbed of the right to receive the lawful minimum pay by stubborn employers. And to get away with their acts that clearly violate the minimum wage law, employers hint on the consequence of firing anyone who may have any intent of complaining (with regard to undocumented workers, employers usually raise the issue of illegal immigration and the threat of deportation).

Employees deprived of their right to receive the minimum hourly pay determined by the government or by their state (whichever amount is higher), should never hesitate about raising a complaint to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) of filing a private civil lawsuit against their employer. These same employees should also know that, contrary to their fear of being fired or being denied of the benefits due to them if they complain, the law is on their side, protecting them even from any retaliatory acts thought of by their employer or whoever the employer may think of using to perform the retaliatory acts.

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