Although workers often seek out overtime pay whenever possible, many employers would prefer to avoid offering overtime wages. Typically, businesses have to pay hourly workers at least 150% of their average hourly wage for any time worked after the first 40 hours in a specific work week.
However, exempt employees, including those paid on a salary basis, may have to work far more than 40 hours each week without additional compensation. Businesses have a vested interest in finding ways to manipulate the system to their benefit, but sometimes attempts to deprive workers of their wages lead to progress for workers’ rights. For example, the Supreme Court recently entered a very important ruling regarding who qualifies for overtime pay.
Workers paid on a daily basis are not exempt like salaried workers
Accepting a salary from a company means agreeing to work however much they need without additional compensation in many cases. However, a worker can depend on a specific amount of income every week regardless of what else happens.
Workers paid on an hourly or daily basis receive differing amounts of income based on how much they work. Recently, the Supreme Court actually clarified how daily workers are much more like hourly workers than salaried employees. The Court ruled in favor of workers bringing a wage claim because they put in long hours while paid on a daily basis.
Given the fluctuations in income based on time worked, the Supreme Court found that they should have received overtime wages. The successful wage claim not only resulted in compensation for the employees directly affected but also in an important new federal standard that will influence how employers treat their workers for years to come.
Taking companies to court can benefit workers
Employees who have not received the wages they earned, including overtime pay for the time put in over 40 hours, may need to take legal action against their employers. Only by creating consequences for unethical businesses can they hope to change how a company treats its employees.
Workers can also receive the wages that a company should have paid them via successful legal action, which sometimes add up to a substantial amount. Tracking major changes to federal employment laws and new precedent from the high courts can make it easier for workers to recognize whether they have grounds for a viable wage claim.