On August 3rd, 2023, the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced that a Texas healthcare provider will pay over $500 thousand in unpaid wages and overtime. According to WHD investigators, the employer failed to properly calculate overtime, denying its employees of earned wages. Earlier this month, the WHD announced a similar judgment in which six Connecticut restaurants would pay $858 thousand for several minimum wage and overtime violations.
Background and Settlement for the Unpaid Wages and Overtime
In its investigation, the WHD determined that the Texas-based healthcare provider paid affected employees straight time for all hours worked, including those over 40 in a workweek. This was in violation of federal overtime law under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The WHD investigation eventually resulted in the settlement of $501,211 for unpaid wages and overtime. The total amount consisted of overtime and liquidated damages owed to 133 affected employees of the company.
Wage and Hour Law Under the FLSA
The FLSA is the nation’s primary wage and hour law. Along with several other most commonly cited employment laws, it is crucial that employers understand and comply with the FLSA. Denying overtime pay is a violation of the FLSA and applicable state and local wage and hour laws. Investigators that discover unpaid wages and overtime pay at an employer’s establishment can submit their findings as evidence during a costly wage and hour lawsuit. Therefore, employers must comply with the federal minimum wage and overtime rules as established under the FLSA. Currently, the FLSA entitles covered workers to the following minimum wage and overtime pay requirements:
- The federal minimum wage of not less than $7.25 an hour, effective July 24th, 2009.
- An overtime pay rate of not less than one and one-half times the regular pay rate during hours worked more than 40 a week.
In addition, every covered employer must keep certain records for each non-exempt employee. Records do not have to be in a particular form. However, they must include specific identifying information about the employee. Employers must also record data on hours worked, pay rate, and wages earned.
DOL Timesheet App
The DOL has provided both tools and guidance to help employers comply with the federal wage and hour laws it enforces. Last year, the DOL launched a free employee Timesheet app for Android or iOS devices. Specifically, the Timesheet app allows employers to record hours worked, overtime, and breaks and compute total wages. On the app, employers can access updated wage and hour information in one location on their smartphones.
It also includes pay frequency options, like hourly or salary. Employers may enter relevant data and receive automatic calculations of wages payable. In conclusion, the tool can help employers accurately track hours and wages payable to their employees in order to avoid wage and hour lawsuits. Importantly, wage and hour recordkeeping can provide a positive defense during a lawsuit alleging unpaid wages and overtime.