How to Avoid Wage Violations
Now that you are an employer, you are expected to pay minimum wage and overtime. Your employees must receive meal breaks. Failure to do any one of the above constitutes a wage violation. Your employees are not only entitled to recover those unpaid wages, but a monetary penalty as well. Let’s further explore wage violations and what they may wind up costing you.
The federal minimum wage is $7.25. State minimum wages vary. As of January 1, 2018, the minimum wage in New Jersey was $8.60. No matter what, remember that employees are entitled to the highest applicable minimum wage. If your city or county rate is higher than either of those, then that is the amount your employees should receive. You may pay a lower minimum wage to employees who regularly receive tips, if they earn enough in tips to make the minimum wage for each hour worked.
Your employees can collect unpaid wages if you fail to pay them minimum wage. The difference between the hourly rate and the minimum wage, multiplied by the number of hours worked, will equal the total amount you will owe. By paying $1 less than the minimum wage for 100 hours of work, you will end up paying $100.
Employees who work more than 40 hours in a work week are entitled to time-and-a-half. Certain employees, according to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), are exempt. This includes high-level managerial employees, employees who work in professions that typically require an advanced degree, and employees who keep the business running and are authorized to make relatively important decisions.
Anyone else can collect 50% of the regular rate per hour if they do not receive the overtime rate. Say the regular hourly rate is $10, for every hour of overtime that you fail to pay the overtime rate, you will owe your employee $5.
You are not required to provide meal or rest breaks, according to state and federal law. However, if you do, federal law dictates that breaks of 20 minutes or less must be paid. You must also pay if you require any work of an employee during a break.
Any breaks of more than 20 minutes that you require your employees to work through can be added to any breaks of 20 minutes or less, whether they were worked through it or not. This time counts as hours worked and you will be required to pay. If the additional time results in overtime, you must pay the overtime rate.
Other Wage Violations
It is in your best interest to seek an employment law attorney for complete knowledge of wage violations. They are a common source of legal trouble for small business owners. Being an employer means being responsible for paying for work performed before or after clocking in. It also means paying earned bonuses or commissions, as well as keeping promises of vacation, sick or holiday time. Finally, paychecks must be provided on time. Never make unauthorized deductions for any reason.
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