Unpaid Wages

Project Description

Unpaid Wages Lawyers

Has your employer failed to pay you for work you did? Are you unsure if you are being paid enough?  There are various wage laws which dictate the amount employees should be paid. A wage attorney is familiar with these federal and state wage laws and will be able to tell you if you have a claim.

The sooner you contact a wage attorney, the sooner you can collect unpaid wages from your employer. If you have any questions about your paycheck, contact a KM&A wage attorney today.

Call Pittsburgh at
(412) 626-5626
Call Philadelphia at
(215) 618-9185
Email KM&A at

KM&A Employment Law Practice Areas

Minimum Wage Requirements

Minimum wage is set by state and federal wage laws. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law setting the national minimum wage. However, not all companies need to follow this law. In Pennsylvania, the state minimum wage is set by the Wage Payment and Collection Law (WPCL). A wage lawyer can tell you which law determines your minimum wage.

Companies must abide by the FLSA unless they are able to get an exception. Generally, all companies who do over $500,000 of business each year are subject to the FLSA. Some exceptions are:

  • Professional, administrative, and executive employees
  • Independent contractors
  • Volunteers

Some employers attempt to get around wage laws by incorrectly classifying an employee. A wage lawyer will look at the work performed to determine if an exception to the FLSA is acceptable. An experienced wage lawyer knows to never blindly trust an employer’s classification.

The current minimum wage set under the FLSA is $7.25/hour as of July 2009. This is the same as the minimum wage set by Pennsylvania wage laws. The only reason a worker should not be paid $7.25/hour in Pennsylvania is if they are not classified as an employee or fall under an exception. Contact a wage attorney if you believe you area being underpaid. By consulting with a wage attorney you will be able to determine if you have a claim for unpaid wages.

Fair Labor Standards Act

The FLSA is a federal law which addressed several aspects of employment. Its provisions establish a 40 hour work week, guarantee overtime, prohibit child labor, and establish a national minimum wage.  It is one of the overarching wage laws in the US which applies to every state. While some companies are exempt from following the FLSA, the majority are covered by the law. As a result, a wage lawyer is familiar with this law and can easily tell if an employee is being paid too little.

There are exceptions to the FLSA. If a company falls under an exception it does not need to follow the FSLA but will likely need to comply with other state wage laws. A wage lawyer can determine which wage laws apply to a business. If the employer is paying employees less than the required amount, the wage lawyer can assist with the collection of lost wages.

PA Minimum Wage and PA Wage Payment and Collection Laws

Pennsylvania has set the same minimum wage as the FLSA through its wage laws. This sets the minimum wage for PA workers at $7.25/hour effective July 2009, unless the company or employee falls under an exception. Consult with a wage attorney if you believe you are being underpaid.

PA wage laws also dictate the proper procedure for the payment of wages if you quit, are laid off, or fired. If you have not been paid all due wages in a prompt manner (defined as the next scheduled pay date) you should talk to a wage attorney. An experienced wage attorney can talk with your former employer to make sure you are paid the amount owed, plus interest. If your employer disputes the amount of money owed to you, a wage attorney can help you file a complaint against your former employer.

PA wage laws address additional issues such as overtime, how to file a claim with the Department of Labor and Industry, exempt employees, and more. An experienced wage attorney from KM&A can help you with all of your wage related issues.

Minimum Wage Exception – Tipped Employees

Tipped employees, namely waiters, do not need to be paid minimum wage according to state and federal wage laws. If a tipped employee routinely makes more than $30/month in tips, the employer is allowed to pay the employee $2.83/hour in Pennsylvania. The employer must ensure that the employee’s average wage ($2.83/hour plus tips earned) is equivalent, or higher, than the minimum wage of $7.25/hour. If it is not, the employer must make up the difference and pay the employee more according to the relevant wage laws. If you are a tipped employee and believe that your tips have not brought you up to an hourly rate of $7.25, contact a wage lawyer. An experienced wage lawyer can look at your old pay stubs and determine if your employer owes you past wages.

According to PA wage laws, a tipped employee must be paid the full minimum wage, $7.25/hour, for work that is not eligible for tips. An example of this is a waiter who spends time cleaning the restaurant, washing dishes, and prepping food. Wage laws state that if more than 20% of the tipped employees hours go to non-tipped work, the employee must be paid minimum wage for the non-tipped work completed. Wage lawyers are knowledgeable in determining what work is classified as non-tipped under wage laws. If your employer disputes what work is tipped and non-tipped, consult with a wage lawyer.

Wage laws also dictate how tip-pooling arrangements should be managed. While an employer is permitted to combine tips and redistribute them among tipped employees, they should make sure that they are only distributed to employees who should be classified as tipped employees. If your employer is sharing tips with a dish washer, chef, or other non-tipped employee, a wage lawyer can help. A wage lawyer can inform the employer of its mistake, negotiate for the repayment of tips, or file a complaint on your behalf if necessary.

Wage Collection

If you were not paid for work you did, you should contact a wage lawyer to help you collect unpaid wages. A claim should be filed with the Department of Labor and Industry which will then evaluate your claim. By having a wage lawyer assist you with filing your claim, you can be assured that no critical steps are missed.

After an employee quits, if laid off, or is fired an employer should pay any owed wages by the next scheduled payday. After terminating your relationship with your employer, your employer may resist paying you the wages you are owed. A wage lawyer can help you collect these wages from your former employer. It is best to file your claim as soon as possible for unpaid wages – per wage laws, an employer is only required to keep wage records for three years. If you delay filing a claim for unpaid wages for too long, there may be limited evidence to support your argument. Additionally, the claim process can take time. While hiring a wage attorney can make sure that the process is handled quickly, there are procedural and administrative requirements which may slow down the process. In order to collect your unpaid wages in a short period of time, you want to contact a wage attorney to file your claim as soon as you believe your former (or current) employer is not going to pay you the wages you earned.

More Articles about Unpaid Wages

The unfortunate reality is that many interns are receiving no compensation for their time spent in internship positions despite their right to wages under federal and state laws.

Everyone, even those who are not living paycheck to paycheck, deserves to be fairly compensated for the work they have done.

Workers have a right to fair compensation. Several state and federal laws protect workers from exploitation by setting the standards for minimum wages, overtime regulations, etc.

When Should I Contact a Wage Attorney?

Contact a wage attorney if you believe you have a claim for unpaid wages and you are unable to negotiate with your employer alone. An experienced wage attorney is knowledgeable about wage laws and knows the proper procedure to follow in filing a complaint. The sooner you contact a wage attorney, the sooner you can receive unpaid wages. Initial consultations with a KM&A wage attorney are free of charge to help you understand the best course of action under wage laws for your situation.

What Sort of Information Do I Need to Have When I Talk to a Wage Lawyer?

When talking with a wage lawyer, it is helpful to have certain information handy. While every situation is different, a wage lawyer will likely want to know:

  • Start date of employment
  • End date of employment (if applicable)
  • Wage details (starting wage, any raises, pay periods)
  • Time of disputed wages

By having this information available, a wage lawyer will be able to gather a complete picture of your situation. Depending on your case, a wage lawyer may recommend different courses of action.

Why Should I Hire a Wage Attorney?

By hiring a wage attorney, you are giving yourself the best chance to collect unpaid wages. A wage attorney is familiar with wage laws that govern the procedure for filing a complaint about unpaid wages. Employers may be more likely to pay owed wages or negotiate if a wage attorney is involved in the case.  If you need to file an official complaint or lawsuit, a wage attorney will make sure it is done properly and handle your case from start to finish.

Kraemer, Manes & Associates LLC “KM&A” is a law firm serving all of Pennsylvania with our principal offices in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Call KM&A in western Pennsylvania at 412-626-5626 or in eastern Pennsylvania at 215-618-9185. KM&A can be reached by email at lawyer@lawkm.com.

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