As an employee, wages and hours are arguably the most important part of the job. Your paycheck pays the bills, and if there’s a mistake in how you’re compensated, it can affect your financial well-being significantly.
What you might not be aware of are common wage and hour violations that employers make. Sometimes it’s a mistake. Other times employers may try to purposefully skirt an employee to save money. Whatever the case, wage and hour violations can have serious consequences for the employer, and you as an employee have the right to pursue legal action.
Some common wage and hour violations you should know about are:
1. Incorrectly calculating overtime
Most already know of overtime. It’s any additional time spent working in a 40-hour workweek, which is compensated by “time-and-a-half.” However, this calculation is meant to paid at the employee’s “regular rate.” This regular rate includes the employee’s wage, as well as any bonuses or commissions earned that week.
2. Rounding improperly
When you clock in or out, an employer rounds that time either up or down. While rounding is permissible, it cannot negatively affect the worker. This means the employer cannot round up your start time and round down your end time, because that would negatively affect you as the employee.
3. Not knowing which time is compensable
Some employers get confused about compensation when it comes to travel expenses. Between state and federal law, there can be a few differences. In general, federal law dictates any travel that cuts across an employee’s work day is compensable work time. In California, any travel that is away from home is compensable work time, even if it is not during work hours.
It is unfair for employees to be suffering from their employer’s negligence. When it comes to complying with state or federal employment law, employers are required to follow whichever benefits the worker more.
Keep in mind that these are only a few common mistakes. There are more, and each one can carry penalties for an employer. If you suspect your employer may be violating wage and hour laws, you may benefit from speaking with an attorney about next steps.