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Minimum Wage and Overtime Concerns

Employment Attorney in Hoffman Estates IL and Des Plaines on Minimum Wage and Overtime Laws

Proper payroll processing is essential for any properly run business. Companies that do not structure payroll policies and systems to provide employees with timely and accurate payments of their wages risk violation of both federal and Illinois employment laws.

In our more than 150 years of combined legal experience representing Hoffman Estates and Des Plaines businesses and workers, our law firm finds that both employers and employees are often unaware of the wage and hour laws that govern payroll practices. Some company policies may even mislead workers into believing that improper practices are legal. Our Des Plaines and Hoffman Estates employment attorneys provide the following overview of common Illinois minimum wage and overtime pay matters that may cause legal issues for employees and businesses alike.

Minimum Wage Laws in Illinois

Illinois is subject to requirements under both the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Illinois Minimum Wage Law (IMWL). Some Illinois municipalities have enacted their own minimum wage ordinances. This means that workers are entitled to be paid at the highest rate that applies to the city or village where they work.

To complicate matters further, if tips are part of an employee’s compensation, different rates apply depending on how long the employee has worked for an employer. If the combination of tips and wages do not exceed the federal minimum wage, the employer is liable to make up the difference. Employees classified as exempt under FLSA and are paid on a salary basis are also required to be paid at least $455.00 per workweek.

What are Common Minimum Wage Violations?

While the FLSA does not mandate meal or break periods, Illinois employment law requires employers to provide breaks to employees who work a minimum of seven-and-a-half consecutive hours. The time frame stipulated by state law requires breaks to be at least 20 minutes long, and start no later than five hours from the time a shift begins.

Although Illinois law does not stipulate that breaks be paid, employees must be paid for any lunch or other break time they spend working. All the time an employee spends working is legally compensable, and employers are in violation of minimum wage laws if they do not compensate workers for lunch periods spent working.

Failing to apply overtime pay rates when appropriate is another common minimum wage violation. Unless classified as being exempt under FLSA regulations, any employee who exceeds 40 hours in a given workweek must have their hourly wage scaled for each hour after the fortieth. That scale is one and one half times the employee’s initial hourly wage, commonly known as “time and a half.” Our Hoffman Estates lawyers talk more about this pay rate below.

What are the Overtime Laws in Illinois?

Exempt salaried employees are generally not paid overtime, unless specifically provided for in an employee handbook or other employment contract. For non-exempt or exempt employees paid on an hourly basis, the FLSA requires that any hours worked in excess of 40 hours per workweek be paid at time-and-a-half of the employee’s regular hourly rate of pay. For example, an employee making an hourly wage of $10.00 would make $15.00 per hour of overtime pay that they worked.

Additionally, the One Day Rest in Seven Act (ODRISA) requires that employees be provided with at least 24 hours off work each workweek. Unless an employee volunteers to work for seven consecutive days and the employer acquires a permit through the Illinois Department of Labor as evidence of that decision, an employer cannot legally schedule an employee to work seven days in a workweek.

How Do Employers Avoid Paying Overtime?

The most common way that employers avoid paying overtime wages is by misclassifying employees as exempt under FLSA regulations, when in fact they are not exempt. Other common situations include misclassifying employees as independent contractors as well as failing to pay for wait time, travel time or stand-by time.

Other wage and hour overtime violations include:

  • Forcing employees to work off-the-clock, or work through unpaid meal breaks
  • Using illegal averaging techniques when calculating work hours
  • Not counting all work time, such as travel time or waiting time
  • Not compensating employees for being on call
  • Not paying employees for business travel time or out-of-state assignments

Can I File for Lost Wages? Ask a Hoffman Estates of Des Plaines Employment Attorney

If you encounter or are involved in a violation of either the FLSA or IMWL, our employment attorneys can work to resolve the matter in accordance with the laws. The employment lawyers of Pluymert, MacDonald, Hargrove & Lee, Ltd. devote a significant portion of their law practice to handling Illinois employment law and employment claims. Our experience is a valuable resource for an employee or employer who finds themselves in this situation. Contact our Hoffman Estates employment lawyers or Des Plaines attorneys for employment matters to begin the process today.

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