Wages & Overtime Lawyer Chicago

Wages and overtime cases constitute a major part of Alejandro Caffarelli’s practice. In Illinois, all non-exempt hourly employees must earn at least the minimum wage, and must be paid time and a half (“overtime”) for all hours in excess of forty per work week. Minimum wage and overtime are governed by a number of state and federal statutes, including the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act, Illinois Minimum Wage Law, and Fair Labor Standards Act.

The IWPCA mandates that employers in Illinois must pay each employee for all time that the employee worked, including any “final compensation” (such as accrued vacation pay), within two weeks of the end of the period in which the wages were earned. The IWPCA further regulates final compensation upon the end of employment, and makes it unlawful for any employer to deduct wages from an employee’s paycheck without the written consent of the employee. An employer acting in violation of the IWPCA may have to pay the employee up to twice the sum of the unpaid wages, plus a statutory penalty of two percent for each day that the payment is past due. Common IWPCA violations include failing to pay earned commissions, and failing to pay other earned but unused time such as vacation and final paychecks.

What is Minimum Wage in Illinois?

The FLSA contains provisions setting the federal minimum wage. Currently, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. The IMWL contains provisions setting the state minimum wage for Illinois, currently at $8.25 per hour ($4.95 per hour for tipped employees). If both the FLSA and the IMWL apply to an employee, the employee is entitled to earn the higher of the minimum wages set forth in the statutes.

Information on Overtime Payments

The FLSA and IMWL each contain overtime provisions which mandate that non-exempt hourly employees must be paid time and a half for all hours worked in excess of forty hours in one work week. An employee cannot waive his or her right to overtime compensation, and must be compensated for all time worked. However, certain workers, particularly salaried employees, may be exempt from the overtime provisions.

Who Qualifies?

The FLSA and IMWL apply to any employer of at least one employee, and may apply to employees who have not been paid minimum wage, or who have not been paid for overtime work, time spent donning and/or doffing, meal time, travel time, or “off-the-clock” time worked. Employers who “round” their employees’ clocked time may also face penalties under the FLSA and IMWL.

What If There are Violations?

If an employer has violated the FLSA or IMWL, the employer may be subject to either an individual or class civil action in federal court. Under the FLSA and IMWL, an employee can collect unpaid wages for the period of two years preceding the filing of a complaint. If the employer knew of the violation and committed the violation willfully, the employer can recover one additional year of unpaid wages. Further, an employee is entitled to recover an amount equal to the unpaid wages in liquidated damages, as well as reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.

FAQs About Wages & Overtime

Q:How does overtime work for full-time employees?
A:The FLSA requires employers to pay non-exempt employees overtime pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek at a rate of at least 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate of pay.

Q:Is overtime required for working over 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week?
A:Overtime pay is determined on a workweek basis of 40 hours per workweek.

Q:Can I be required to work overtime?
A:Generally, there are no federal or state laws that prohibit your employer from requiring you to work overtime. However, the existence of a collective bargaining agreement or employment contract that places limits on working overtime may affect your employers ability to require you to work overtime.

Q:Can my employer make a “different deal” with me regarding overtime?
A:Employers are not permitted to negotiate around the requirements of the FLSA or state wage and hour laws with an employee. In other words, under no circumstances can your employer pay you less than the federal and state mandated minimum wage and overtime pay requirements if you are a non-exempt employee.

Q:What happens if I’m a tipped employee?
A:The FLSA distinguishes between tips and actual payment for services. If you are a tipped employee (e.g. wait staff, bellhops, barbers, bartenders, etc.), the FLSA allows your employer to pay you less than the minimum wage if your hourly wage plus the tips you actually receive satisfy the federal minimum wage. Under the FLSA, employers are permitted to apply up to $5.12 per hour of your tips toward their minimum wage obligations. This is called a “tip credit.”

Q:Can you explain bonuses vs. overtime payments?
A:Bonuses are usually awarded to employees either through discretion based on performance or by way of contract or agreement. On the other hand, overtime pay is a statutory requirement imposed on employers and is solely determined by the number of hours an employee works.

Q:How do pay periods impact overtime?
A:Regardless of the pay period established by your employer (e.g. weekly or bi-weekly), overtime pay is always calculated based on a 7-day period. The pay period can start any day of the week.

Contact Our Chicago Employment Law Firm

To discuss your wage and overtime case with our firm, as well as any commission case, please contact us today for a free consultation.

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