According to statistics compiled by National Economic Research Associates, employers across the U.S. paid 18 percent more in wage and hour settlements in 2012 than the year before. In all, employers forked over some $467 million in settlements this past year, bringing the total over the past six years to almost $2.7 billion.

Arising under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), such claims generally involve unpaid overtime, off-the-clock work, and being denied proper lunch and rest breaks.

The FLSA is enforced by the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the Department of Labor (DOL).