Wage & Overtime Claims: When Workers are Not Properly Compensated
For most of its employment laws, Pennsylvania has adopted the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to avoid dissimilarities and confusion. The FLSA requires most workers in the state to be compensated appropriately with regular wages, salaries, and overtime pay. As an employee in the state, it is important for you to understand wage and overtime laws so you know you are not being shorted your hard-earned paychecks. As an employer in the state, you must also know the nuances of wage-related employment laws so you do not inadvertently cause a violation and get targeted by a lawsuit or audit.
Overtime Law in Pennsylvania
Any employee who is nonexempt can earn overtime by working more than 40 hours in a given workweek. Overtime begins at 150% the regular pay rate and is calculated by the hour. Employees who are not given fair overtime pay in accordance to the state’s laws can retaliate with a lawsuit. Compensation awarded in a successful lawsuit are usually equal to the amount of overtime pay missing and attorney fees, but could also include punitive damages if the employer was found to have knowingly and maliciously violated the law.
Keep in mind that employers can ask nonexempt employees to work overtime hours, so long as they are paid overtime wages for those hours. An employee who refuses to work overtime hours could be penalized justly by the employer, up to termination. Indeed, as an “at will” state, employers in Pennsylvania have the right to terminate an employee at any time, given that doing so does not involve illegal discrimination.
Wages, Breaks & Exemptions
Circa the winter of 2017, the minimum wage in Pennsylvania is set at $7.25 per hour worked for nonexempt employees. Given the overtime laws in the state, someone working for more than 40 hours a week should be given $10.875 an hour in compensation for each overtime hour. Exempt employees – like independent contractors, certain government agents, and more – do not have set wages and overtime rights, though.
Employers are also not required to provide non-lunch breaks to workers over the age of 18 in Pennsylvania. 30 minutes of non-lunch breaks must be given to minors between the ages of 14 to 17. Due to this additional break requirement and the necessity of dealing with work permits, many employers throughout the state tend to avoid hiring minors.
Harrisburg Employment Law Attorneys – Scaringi Law
Are you worried about encountering a wage and overtime claim as an employer in Pennsylvania? Want to review your employment contracts to ensure everything is in order and everything is compliant? Contact Scaringi Law and our Harrisburg employment lawyers to get all the counsel required. We can also provide you with experienced representation if your case involves a lawsuit that needs mediation or litigation to conclude.