Manual Laborers Entitled to Overtime

Blue collar workers are the backbone of the American workforce.  Unfortunately, they are also often victimized by not receiving the wages they rightfully earned.  In general, workers that perform manual labor are entitled to receive the minimum wage and overtime for each hour worked over 40 hours per week. 

What are some common issues faced by manual laborers that may violate the law?

Payment on a day rate without overtime. Many employees, such as construction workers, are paid on a day rate without overtime.  An employer cannot avoid its obligation to pay overtime by simply paying a day rate if its employees work more than 40 hours per week. 


Pay by the piece or by the job without overtime. Some employers pay per the task or by the job to avoid paying overtime.  For example, a roofer may be paid based on how many shingles he nails down or a farm worker may be paid by how many tomatoes he picks.  However, if either the roofer or the farm worker works more than 40 hours in a week, he still should be paid overtime even if his wages are based on the amount of work he performs. 


Misclassifying employees as independent contractors. Misclassification of employees as independent contractors is a serious problem that affects not only overtime wages but also employee benefits, such as workers’ compensation and health insurance.  The law is clear that true independent contractor relationships are the exception and not the rule.  Just because an employer reports a worker’s wages on a 1099 or just because the employer makes the worker sign an independent contractor agreement does not mean that the workers is anything but an employee entitled to overtime. 

Paying a flat salary without overtime. Many employers believe that paying a worker a flat salary means it does not have to pay overtime.  This is simply not the law.  If the work an employee performs makes him eligible to receive overtime, an employer cannot avoid paying overtime just because it pays a salary instead of paying by the hour. 




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