Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)?
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938 to protect workers rights. It establishes minimum wage, overtime pay and other employment standards. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. However, many states have implemented their own minimum wage standards. In Colorado, the minimum wage is $7.78 per hour. Employees are entitled to the higher wage when they are subject to both state and federal wage laws. In 1949, the Child Labor amendment helped protect the educational opportunities of children and prohibit their work in dangerous workplaces. For more information, visit the Department of Labor's website.
2. Am I eligible for overtime pay?
Anyone who works more than 40 hours in a week could be eligible for overtime pay. To establish if an employee is due overtime pay, Jobs are placed into "exempt" or 'non-exempt" categories. The vast majority of jobs fall under the non-exempt category. Non-exempt employees must be paid overtime. However, there are some jobs that are exempt from overtime. Our lawyers are available to help determine whether your specific job is exempt or non-exempt from overtime laws.
Exempt Employees must earn at least $455 per week on a gross salary. Additionally, they often meet one of the exemption criteria below.
Administrative: These positions are defined as including office work, but only if the job duties directly relate to management or general business operations, and a primary use of independent judgment and discretion about matters of significance. The distinction is designed for relatively high-level employees who "keep the business running". Clerical employees and those in educational administration are considered non-exempt.
Executive: Job duties include the supervision of two or more employees, management has the primary duty of the position, and genuine input into the job status of other employees. Supervision should include managing work loads, appraising productivity, selecting and training employees, and planning budgets.
Professional: Most often, this includes lawyers, doctors, dentists, teachers, architects, and clergy. It can also include accountants, engineers and other employees whose positions require 'advanced knowledge". Generally these positions require specialized education and require the use of discretion and judgment. 'Creative professional" jobs such as actors, musicians, and writers may also be exempt if their jobs require invention, originally or imagination.
Artistic or Creative Endeavors: This exemption typically includes musicians, writer, artists, acting, and graphic arts.
Computer Related Occupations: This exemption includes computer jobs who have a salary of $455 per a week or more or a hourly rate of not less than $27.63 per hour.
Outside Sales: This exemption includes employees who customarily sell and are customarily away from the employer's place of business.
Although you may think you fall into one of the above exemptions, many employers misclassify their employees. Some employers fail to pay overtime because they are simply unaware that overtime money is owed. Other employers misclassify their employees jobs on purpose to avoid paying overtime. To see if your position requires overtime pay, contact us to speak to one of our experienced attorneys right away.
Again, our lawyers are available to help determine whether your job duties make you eligible for overtime pay.
Many employers miscategorize their employees. Some employers fail to pay overtime because they are simply unaware that overtime money is owed. Other employers miscatecorize their employees jobs on purpose to avoid paying overtime. To see if your position requires overtime pay, contact our attorneys right away.
3. What is the minimum wage law in Colorado?
Minimum wage in Colorado is $7.78/hour as of January 1, 2013. However, certain exceptions do exist including:
- The use of lodging and meals as compensation
- Tipped employees can receive $4.62 per hour if that employee regularly makes more than $30 in tips per month. If tipped employees' direct wages and tips do not equal minimum wage standards, employers are required to make up the difference.
4. What hours are counted for overtime pay?
Employers must count all eligible time in determining if you are owed overtime pay in any given workweek. All compensable hours must be counted or your employer may be unfairly denying you the overtime by you have earned.
- Suffered or Permitted - Time that is not specifically requested but is permitted to be performed such as employees staying late on a shift to complete an assigned task must be counted as hours worked
- Waiting Time - Time that is controlled by the employer that the employee cannot use effectively for his or her own purposes such as employees waiting for directions or a fireman waiting for an alarm is considered hours worked. This time is not compensable if employees are relieved from duty or if the time is sufficient that employees can effectively use if for their own purposes.
- On Call Time - Time is compensable if employees are required to stay on the employers premise or required to stay close to the employer's premise so that time cannot be effectively used for their own purposes. This is generally not compensable if the employee is required to carry a pager or be on call at home.
- Training Time - Attendance at training seminars is considered compensable and counts towards hours worked unless it is voluntary, outside of business hours, not job related, and no additional work is performed.
- Travel Time - Travel between job sites should be paid, however, ordinary home-to-work travel time does not count as hours worked.
- Sleep Time - All time on the clock for employees required to be on duty for less than 24 hours (including sleep or time for personal activities if permitted when not busy) is considered time worked. Employees scheduled for 24 hours or more may arrange and agreement with their employer to exclude regular, uninterrupted sleeping hours of no more than 8 hours.
- Meal and Rest Periods - Time spent eating meals (typically 30 minutes or more) are not counted towards hours worked as long as the employee is relieved of all duties and is uninterrupted. Short breaks (typically 5 to 20 minutes) are generally counted towards hours worked.
5. What is the Employee Retirement Income Security Act?
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) covers retirement plans that are established and maintained to provide retirement income or to defer income until termination of covered employment or beyond. ERISA also covers welfare plans that are established and maintained to provide health benefits, disability benefits, death benefits, prepaid legal services, vacation benefits, day care centers, scholarship funds, apprenticeship and training benefits, or other similar benefits. In addition, ERISA encompasses The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) which provides former employees, retirees, spouses, former spouses and dependent children (deemed as "qualified beneficiaries") the right to temporary continuation of health coverage after the occurrence of a qualifying event such as termination of employment or retirement.
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