Knowing Your Rights as an Employee
Employment law is an area that every employee needs to have at least a basic understanding of to ensure they are being treated fairly, that their employer is adhering to the law and that they also receiving all of the right entitlements.
Although it is the employers responsibility to pay you what you are owed, you need to take responsibility to make sure that you are aware of all of the laws which may affect you. In many cases, the employer may try to hide certain areas of the law in an attempt to save money. There have been hundreds of reported cases of employers mistreating members of staff and breaking the law at the same time.
Overtime pay laws are one area that has caused a great deal of controversy, and many employers have been found to be avoiding paying their staff overtime in a bid to save money. This can result in employers paying heavy penalties and fines if they are found guilty of misleading their employees.
In 2012, companies paid $4.8 million to resolve Fair Labor Standards Act employees claims for unpaid overtime pay. Employers are finding new ways to avoid having to declare overtime, whether they are claiming their employees are exempt or are just labeling them as independent contractors who are not entitled to the same benefits as a permanent employee. A staggering 70% of employers are not in line with the legislation and those that are discovered have either made serious errors when claiming the overtime payments, or have intentionally tried to disguise the amount of hours worked by an employer to prevent payments being made. Overtime pay is a key benefit for permanent employees and it is written into every employee contract, although the terms and conditions of when overtime pay is applicable may vary.
Since 2011, claims of employers neglecting to pay overtime to employees has risen by 40%; the recession has resulted in more and more businesses trying to tighten up their overall financial spends, and this may be one of the main causes of the increase in overtime pay law cases. But the reality is that by trying to ignore the laws that are in place, businesses are in fact increasing the amount of money they have to pay out; not only will they have to make payment to the employees that did not receive their overtime pay, but they also have to cover the costs of the claims that are made against them, as well as pay the fines and penalties caused by breaching these employment regulations.
The FSLA (federal overtime pay laws) is now monitoring employers and businesses closely to prevent the number of cases from rising any further. Employees have rights and employers are obligated to fulfill the necessary benefits and meet the general working conditions that are set out by law.
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