What Should I Do About Miscalculated Overtime?
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) standardized employee compensation for overtime. However, every law offers a space where loopholes can be found and exploited so that an employee is not receiving what is rightfully his or hers. Since this is not acceptable, call a lawyer to work beside you so you receive your rights under FLSA.
Learn more about FLSA and what it does. Pennsylvania has adopted new overtime laws and rules because President Obama implemented new requirements for overtime. You can choose to sue your employer for overtime pay if you aren’t receiving what you should under the law.
Common Overtime Wage Violations
FLSA sets the regulations for how to calculate overtime pay. An employer should be aware of the intricacies of the law. Unfortunately, sometimes overtime is miscalculated when the number of hours worked for overtime are not calculated correctly. For example, if an employer requires an employee to be at work 20 minutes before their shift begins, the employee is entitled to overtime if the time adds up over the regular 40-hour workweek. The time is required by the employer; therefore, the employee must be paid.
Meanwhile, three categories comprise the most common overtime violations. Although sometimes these violations happen innocently, this is still a violation of your rights.
- Misclassifying an employee exempt
- Miscalculating hourly wages
- Miscalculating hours worked
Misclassifying Employees Exempt
Some employers have misclassified certain employees exempt for FLSA coverage by labeling them as a particular group of people. Workers who fall into the category of executive, administrative, professional, or outside sales are not eligible for overtime wages due to the nature of their day-to-day tasks along with how much they are salaried. When an employee is misclassified exempt, he or she should be receiving overtime compensation but are not. In these situations, the day-to-day tasks prove whether or not an employee as been misclassified exempt.
Miscalculating Hours Worked
When an employee is eligible for FLSA coverage or marked nonexempt, he or she receives overtime pay. Yet, an employer can violate the law by incorrectly calculating the number of hours worked by the employee. Sometimes this means not taking into account all the time required to be on the job.
The following are examples of situations that should be considered time worked.
- Suiting up into protective gear at the worksite
- Training and mandatory work events
- “off the clock” working, before or after actual hours
- Working through unpaid rest or meal breaks
- Travel time for work (report to a location and then travel to a specific worksite)
- Working from home without compensation, whether required or allowed.
Miscalculating Hourly Wage
Figuring out the overtime payment is more complex than it seems. On the face of it, the overtime rate is 1.5 of the regular rate of pay. However, a couple of facets need to be taken into consideration for figuring out an employee’s overtime compensation. A few items are required to be considered when calculating overtime wages, but on the flipside, a list of situations shouldn’t influence overtime wages at all.
Quick List: Overtime Wage Factors
- All wages
- Shift differentials (day shift pay vs. night shift pay)
- Multiple Rates of Pay
- Non-discretionary bonuses
Quick List: Overtime Wage Non-factors
- Performance-based bonus
- One-time prize
- Holiday monetary gifts
- Holiday pay rates
- Health benefits or life insurance
- Travel expenses
- Vacation or sick pay
Miscalculated Overtime and What To Do
If the number on your paycheck seems too low, it may be worth investigating, especially if you know you’ve worked quite a bit of overtime and you are entitled to overtime pay. Overtime compensation needs to not only take into account time worked but also work bonuses and shift differentials. You may be cheated out of your correct overtime wages. What if I’m not paid for my overtime?
Prove Miscalculated Overtime Wages
When you first approach your employer with the idea that you may be cheated out of your rightful pay, go prepared. It’s important that you bring proof that your wages have been miscalculated. Present your employer with the following proof.
- Computer login data
- Recorded work hours
- Hourly wage for every type of shift you worked
- Your testimony
If this is not enough, you can probably gain more proof through witness testimony, other employee records, or surveillance camera records.
However, if your employer refuses to recognize your claim, there are two options at your disposal. You may choose to file a wage claim with your state labor department or you can sue your company. A wage claim requires filling out specific forms and adhering to certain time limits. The best thing you can do for your case is speak to a lawyer about your situation.
If you think you that your overtime wages were miscalculated and your employer is not willing to make a correction, contact a lawyer who will know how to navigate the FLSA and your rights under the law.