Remote Workers Are Entitled to Overtime Pay, Too

Work from home, Work laws apply

Work from home, Work laws apply4.7 million workers across the United States worked remotely on a regular basis, even before the coronavirus pandemic.  Many employees are attracted by the flexibility and freedom that working from home provides.  Similarly, remote employment allows employers to save on overhead expenses and reap the benefit of higher employee work satisfaction.   Now, as a result of the coronavirus, social distancing, and businesses protecting their workforce, the number of employees working remotely has spiked to all-time highs.

With the onset of the coronavirus,  working remotely provides an opportunity for employees to be productive (and not miss a paycheck), but not potentially expose their colleagues while they may be contagious.

However, for employees, there is a downside to working remotely: the feeling that you are always working for – or available to – your employer 24/7/365.  This becomes a problem (and a wage violation) when employers don’t track all the hours their remote employees work.

Overtime laws apply to remote workers the same exact way that they apply to on-site employees.  Employers are legally required to accurately track the hours of their remote employees and pay them for all hours they work, including paying them at an overtime rate for hours worked over 40 in a week.  However, although tracking work time for remote employees is a fairly easy thing to do, many employers don’t track remote employee work time, or they simply pay them for a set number of hours every week (usually 40).  As a result, many remote employees working more than 40 hours a week are not paid for all of their work time and are not paid at an overtime rate when they work over 40 hours.

If you work remotely, be sure that your employer has developed a system to accurately track all hours worked, rather than simply paying a set amount of hours.   As mentioned above, it is common when working from home that your workday exceeds your set Schedule and to thus work “off-the-clock” hours.  To the extent your employer is not properly tracking remote hours worked, call the Shavitz Law Group today at (800) 616-4000 for a free consultation.

YOU EARNED IT, NOW LETS GO GET IT.

Gregg Shavitz, Shavitz Law Group, 951 Yamato Rd Ste 285, Boca Raton, FL and 800 3rd Ave, Suite 2800, New York, NY.  Lawyers licensed in states including FL, NY, NJ, and TX.  The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.

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No Time Records: Why You Don’t Necessarily Need Proof to Claim Your Unpaid Overtime

No proof, no problem: We've got your back.

No proof, no problem: We've got your back.Many employees hesitate to bring claims for unpaid overtime wages because of a fear that they cannot provide proof that they worked the overtime hours that they claim.  Especially if an employee is salaried, he or she will often only clock in and out for attendance purposes or may not even have to clock in at all.  If they are paid hourly, many employees will work off-the-clock hours with these hours not being reflected in the time records.

Not to fear: The law requires employers to maintain accurate time records for each of their employees.  As such, if there is a dispute about hours worked, an employee’s reasonable recollection about the hours he or she worked will be the basis of any claim for unpaid overtime.  This means that, even without specific proof, an employee can recover for unpaid overtime wages.

Additionally, even in the absence of any time records, in this digital age, we are regularly able to re-create our clients’ hours worked by developing electronic evidence, which includes the time employees logged onto computers or logged off computers, cell phone records, or records of e-mails, etc.   Thus, even in the absence of actual time records, there are regularly other indicators we can develop through discovery with the employer to paint a picture of your typical comings-and-going from work, as well as your pre-shift and post-shift work.

If you have a claim for unpaid overtime wages, please contact us at [email protected] or at 800-616-4000.  We would be happy to assist you in a free consultation to discuss your employment concerns.

YOU EARNED IT, NOW LETS GO GET IT.

Gregg Shavitz, Shavitz Law Group, 951 Yamato Rd Ste 285, Boca Raton, FL and 800 3rd Ave, Suite 2800, New York, NY.  Lawyers licensed in states including FL, NY, NJ, and TX.  The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.

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Law Firms Can Violate Wage and Hour Laws, Too.

Under-paid by lawyer employer

Under-paid by lawyer employerWhen you think about wage and hour compliance issues, you might overlook an entire group of employers that may be in violation: law firms.  While you might assume that attorneys would be in compliance with the law, remember they are businesses, too.  As with other businesses, it is not uncommon for law firms to cut corners when it comes to wage and hour compliance.

Law firms, which are understandably concerned with the rights of their clients, also need to look inward and make sure that they are protecting the rights of their own employees to the fullest extent of the law.

Law firms have the same potential pitfalls of any other business.  Shavitz Law Group has helped recover damages for law firm employees who have been under-compensated.  Areas of concern where employers may fail to properly track the hours of and pay properly non-exempt employees include:

  • work performed remotely, usually at home, but can include work performed while traveling or commuting;
  • work performed while monitoring cell phones for calls, texts, and messages at the employer’s request;
  • improperly classifying employees as exempt when they perform non-exempt work — one common misconception in the legal industry is that paralegals are exempt professionals. Under the law, however, salaried paralegals are still entitled to overtime wages for hours worked in excess of forty per week;
  •  work performed during an unpaid meal break.

If you have any questions about your entitlement to recover unpaid overtime, please call us. Just like any employer, law firms are prohibited from retaliating against any employee who pursues backpay and overtime. Additionally, the law requires employers who violate federal wage law to pay the employees’ attorneys’ fees and costs, so we can represent you without any costs or fees paid by you. Call us today at (800) 616-4000 for a free consultation.

You Earned It, Now Let’s Go Get It.

Gregg Shavitz, Shavitz Law Group, 951 Yamato Rd Ste 285, Boca Raton, FL and 830 3rd Ave, Floor 5, New York, NY.  Lawyers licensed in states including FL, NY, NJ, and TX.  The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.

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Should You Be Paid for That Break?

Tired of unpaid breaks

Tired of unpaid breaksThe Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), and many state wage laws, require employers to provide non-exempt employees with a meal break. A bona fide meal break under the FLSA must be for a period of more than 20 minutes, and the employee must be “completely relieved of duty” during the break for the employer to not have to pay the employee for that time.

Many employees are not completely relieved of their duties while on break, because they are required to take their lunch breaks at their work stations.  For example, a receptionist required to eat at their workstation to answer the phone in case it rings, or a security guard who stays at their post keeping watch, but taking a few minutes to eat while keeping watch, would not be “completely relieved of duty” and should be compensated for having to be available for work during their meal breaks.

A meal break is different from a rest break, which is less than 20 minutes in duration and is compensable. An employer cannot provide an employee with two separate 15-minute rest breaks but then combine the two breaks and contend the employee took a 30-minute meal break, and therefore should not be compensated. If the employee takes a break of twenty minutes or less, the time remains compensable.   In essence, smoking breaks (i.e. short duration breaks of less than 20 minutes) as they are termed are not deductible but are just part of the normal workday and that time has to be paid time.

If you are one of the many employees who have lost wages due to unpaid and untaken breaks, we can help. The law requires employers who violate federal wage law to pay the employees’ attorneys’ fees and costs, so we can represent you without any costs or fees paid by you. Call us today at (800) 616-4000 for a free consultation.

YOU EARNED IT, NOW LETS GO GET IT.

Gregg Shavitz, Shavitz Law Group, 951 Yamato Rd Ste 285, Boca Raton, FL and 830 3rd Ave, Floor 5, New York, NY.  Lawyers licensed in states including FL, NY, NJ, and TX.  The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.

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Are You One of the Millions of Workers Now Entitled to Overtime?

New decade new overtime rules

New decade new overtime rulesAs of January 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) new final rule becomes effective.  The new rule makes an additional 1.3 million American workers eligible for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  The rules allow workers to make more money in a salary and still be eligible for overtime.  Specifically, the new rule:

–   raises the “standard salary level” from the currently enforced level of $455 to $684 per week (equivalent to $35,568 per year for a full-year worker). This means a salary of $35,568 or less per year will not be a bar to overtime.

–   raises the total annual compensation level for “highly compensated employees (HCE)” from $100,000 to $107,432 per year. This means a salary of $107,432 or less per year will not be a bar to overtime.

This is the first time in 15 years that the DOL has raised the thresholds.  Therefore, many workers who have been working during this period may assume that they still are not eligible for overtime because they make too much in their salary.

The DOL acknowledges that the changes will make millions more American workers eligible for overtime.  Are you one of them? If you are affected by this threshold change or if you feel that you are owed overtime, call the Shavitz Law Group.   We can seek back-pay for time worked within the past 3 years under federal law and longer under certain state laws. Contact Shavitz Law Group at (561) 447-8888 or visit us at www.shavitzlaw.com for a free, no-obligation review of your circumstances and consultation regarding your rights.

You Earned It, Now Let’s Go Get It.

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Gregg Shavitz, Shavitz Law Group, 951 Yamato Rd Ste 285, Boca Raton, FL and 830 3rd Ave, Floor 5, New York, NY.  Lawyers licensed in states including FL, NY, NJ, and TX.  The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.

Required to Work Through Your Lunch Break? You Could Be Entitled to Compensation

Break up with unpaid worktime

Break up with unpaid worktimeAre you an hourly employee that works through your lunch break? Federal wage and hour law does not require employers to give employees lunch breaks; however, the laws of some states require that lunch breaks be provided. In either case, hourly employees who are given lunch breaks and are required to clock out for those breaks must be allowed to take an actual break in which they are relieved of all work-related duties.

In order for an employer to deduct a meal break from your total time worked, you must be “completely relieved of duty.” Eating at your desk while working is not a deductible break – rather, that is work time.   We hear from employees whose employers expect them to clock out for a lunch break and then continue to work while eating at their desks, eat quickly and then return to work while still off the clock, or are called out of the break room to perform work. We also hear from employees whose employers deduct pay for lunch breaks their employees did not take. However, even if you only work through an unpaid lunch break a couple of times a week, the lost wages can add up quickly. Often, as in the case of an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. employee who has to clock out for a one-hour lunch break, the wages lost are overtime hours for which they should be paid time and a half.

As an example, suppose an employee who earns $15 per hour worked 40 hours per week on the clock plus worked off-the-clock through their lunch break for one hour two days per week.  Over the course of a year, the employee has lost over $2,340 in unpaid wages, or 7.5% of their annual pay. Over 3 years, the amount of wages lost wages is $7,020. Under the law, employees who claim unpaid wages are normally entitled to recover double the amount of their unpaid wages, meaning that the employee in the example could recover over $14,000 for their two missed lunch breaks per week. If the employee worked during unpaid lunch breaks more often than two days per week, potential damages are even higher.

If you are one of the many employees who have lost wages due to unpaid and untaken lunch breaks, we can help. The law requires employers who violate federal wage law to pay the employees’ attorneys’ fees and costs, so we can represent you without any costs or fees paid by you. Call us today at (800) 616-4000 for a free consultation.

YOU EARNED IT, NOW LETS GO GET IT.

Gregg Shavitz, Shavitz Law Group, 951 Yamato Rd Ste 285, Boca Raton, FL and 830 3rd Ave, Floor 5, New York, NY.  Lawyers licensed in states including FL, NY, NJ, and TX.  The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.

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Do You Work for a Federal Contractor? You May Have Just Gotten a Minimum Wage Increase…

Federal contractor worker? Happy New Year

Federal contractor worker? Happy New YearBeginning on January 1, 2020, the applicable minimum wage rate for workers performing work on or in connection with some federal contracts increased to $10.80 for an hour. Additionally, the minimum cash wage which must be paid to tipped employees performing work on or in connection with covered contracts increased to $7.55 per hour.

This Executive Order, which was originally signed by President Obama in February 2014, applies to the following types of contracts:

  • Procurement contracts for construction covered by the Davis Bacon Act.
  • Service contracts covered by the Service Contract Act.
  • Concessions contracts, including any concessions contract excluded from the SCA by the Department’s regulations at 29 C.F.R. 4.133(b).
  • Contracts in connection with Federal property or lands and related to offering services for Federal employees, their dependents, or the general public.

In addition, the Executive Order allows the Department of Labor to make cost of living adjustments to the minimum wage applied to covered contracts each year.

Federal contractors are required by law to notify all workers performing work on or in connection with a covered contract of the applicable minimum wage rate under the Executive Order. Contractors may satisfy the Order’s notice requirement by displaying the DOL-issued poster reflecting the updated wage rates in a prominent or accessible place at the worksite.

If you were affected by this minimum wage increase and were not notified by your contractor, or if you feel that you are owed overtime, call the Shavitz Law Group. We can seek back-pay for time worked within the past 3 years under federal law and longer under certain state laws. Contact Shavitz Law Group at (561) 447-8888 or visit us at www.shavitzlaw.comfor a free, no-obligation review of your circumstances and consultation regarding your rights.

You Earned It, Now Let’s Go Get It.

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Gregg Shavitz, Shavitz Law Group, 951 Yamato Rd Ste 285, Boca Raton, FL and 830 3rd Ave, Floor 5, New York, NY.  Lawyers licensed in states including FL, NY, NJ, and TX.  The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.

Paid Only For Hours Scheduled but Not Paid for Hours Worked?

Not paid on arrival

Not paid on arrivalEmployees should be paid for all hours worked. What we see from time to time are employers who try to save on their expenses by only paying for hours scheduled, rather than actual hours worked. For example, if an employee arrives at work and starts working 15 minutes before the scheduled start time, the employer is not allowed to accept the benefit of that work but not pay the employee for the time.

Similarly, if an employee continues working beyond the scheduled end of their shift, the employer must pay for the additional time worked. Some employers have policies that require employees to arrive 10 minutes before their scheduled start time so that they are in their seats ready to get started at the scheduled shift time.  If an employer has a policy about arrival time, then such time arrived is when the time clock should start, not when the actual shift begins.

Be aware of time tracking policies where you may be asked to simply note your shift hours rather than the precise time you start and stop work. To the extent you are working more time than you can record, or to the extent your employer adjusts your records to only reflect your shift hours rather than all hours actually worked, call the Shavitz Law Group.   We can seek back-pay for time worked within the past 3 years under federal law and longer under certain state laws. Contact Shavitz Law Group at (561) 447-8888 or visit us at www.shavitzlaw.com for a free, no-obligation review of your circumstances and consultation regarding your rights.

You Earned It, Now Let’s Go Get It.

Gregg Shavitz, Shavitz Law Group, 951 Yamato Rd Ste 285, Boca Raton, FL and 830 3rd Ave, Floor 5, New York, NY.  Lawyers licensed in states including FL, NY, NJ, and TX.  The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.

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Big or Small – Every Overtime Case Has Value

Make a large splash with a small overtime stone

Make a large splash with a small overtime stoneThe Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), the federal law that sets forth the requirements for overtime pay, protects employees by requiring a company to pay a prevailing plaintiff his/her reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.  29 U.S.C. § 216 (b).   The purpose for this “fee shifting” is to protect workers who have small claims and to allow them to pursue their rights without fear of having their claims outweighed by the fees and costs to bring them.  At the Shavitz Law Group, no claim is too big or too small for us to consider.

While many might believe that incurring 5-10 minutes per day of unpaid time is inconsequential this uncompensated time adds up.  It can lead to an employee not being paid for over 40 hours per year.  If this is at the fault of a company that employs thousands of workers who all experience the same issue, a problem that seemed minor actually can end up potentially cheating workers collectively out of millions of dollars.

In addition, employees who pursue such claims on behalf of a class of people are oftentimes entitled to an additional sum of money, called a “service award,” in the event that a case settles.  While not guaranteed and subject to Court approval, the service award compensates these people who step forward to represent the interest of the class.

In sum, even what may seem like the smallest case, could have far-reaching effects on a company.  If you have an employment-related issue, do not hesitate to contact us at the Shavitz Law Group. You could be entitled to recover overtime pay and other compensation for every hour you’ve worked over 40 each week. Contact us today at [email protected] or call us directly at (800) 616-4000 for a free consultation.

YOU EARNED IT, NOW LET’S GO GET IT.

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Statute of Limitations and Your Overtime Rights: One Quick Call Makes a Difference

Check the expiration date on your overtime

Check the expiration date on your overtimeTime and time again, we at the Shavitz Law Group get the same call from employees cheated out of their wages:

“When I worked for so-and-so, I regularly worked over 40 hours per week but wasn’t paid any overtime wages because I was paid on a salary basis.  I didn’t know that I could still be entitled to overtime pay despite my salary status.”

While true, often this call is made much too late.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) protects employees’ rights to seek unpaid wages, including overtime wages, whether those wages were earned as an hourly or salary-paid employee, or on some other basis.  However, this law requires that you assert your right to unpaid wages within either two or three years (depending on the circumstances) of the unpaid time worked – though, for some states, your deadline may be longer than three years.  Simply put, there is no way around a “statute of limitations.”  If you sit on your rights, you lose out while your employer reaps the benefit of free labor.

If you believe you may be entitled to unpaid wages for your hours worked, regardless of whether you are an hourly or salary-paid employee, speak to an attorney as soon as possible to evaluate your claim before it’s too late.  The longer you wait, the smaller your claim to back-pay may become because of the running of the statute of limitations.  One phone call can make all the difference.

If you have any questions regarding your pay, contact Shavitz Law Group at (561) 447-8888 or visit us at www.shavitzlaw.com for a free, no-obligation review of your circumstances and consultation regarding your rights.

YOU EARNED IT, NOW GO GET IT.

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