Unpaid Wages/Overtime Wage Claims

Unpaid Wages

Your employer is required to pay you for ALL of the hours that you work. If they don’t, they are likely violating both the federal and state wage laws where you live.

Common violations include situations where:

  • You are not permitted to “clock in” until you arrive to the jobsite
  • You are required to report fewer hours than you actually worked
  • Your boss deletes some of the hours that you worked from your timecard
  • You do not get paid for driving to the warehouse in the morning to pick up supplies and equipment you will need for the day
  • You do not get paid for breaks lasting 20 minutes or less
  • Your time is docked 30 minutes (or an hour) each day for a meal break you don’t get to take or which is subject to interruption

These claims are also called “off-the-clock-claims” because you are being forced to work while “off the clock” and thus are not getting paid for ALL of the time worked.

Since 1989, Debes Law Firm has represented tens of thousands of workers across the country who were not paid for all the hours they worked.

If your employer has failed to pay you for ALL of the hours that you worked, contact Debes Law Firm for a free case evaluation here or call us at 713.623.0900.

Overtime Wage Claims

Do you get paid time-and-a-half when you work more than forty (40) hours per day? If not, your employer may be violating the federal (and state) wage laws.

Most employers are required to pay you “one-and-one-half” times your “regular rate” of pay for all hours that you work in excess of forty (40) each week.

Paid by the hour
If you are paid an hourly wage (and nothing else), the required overtime rate is easy to calculate – you just multiply your hourly rate by 1.5 in order to determine your OT rate of pay. For example, if you make $10 per hour and you work 50 hours in a given week, your employer would owe you:

$10/hour x 40 hours = $400
$15/hour x 10 OT hours = $150
Total owed = $550

Per diems, shift differentials, bonuses, etc.
But what if in addition to your hourly wage, you also receive a “shift differential”, per diem payments, bonuses based on productivity, or other forms of compensation?

The law provides that — in many situations – your employer must add these extra payments to your hourly wage in order to calculate your “regular rate of pay” and then multiply the new regular rate by 1.5 in order to determine your overtime rate of pay.

For instance, use the same example as above (employee is paid $10/hour and works 50 hours in a week). But in addition to earning $10/hour, the employee also gets a shift differential of $2.00/hour and a productivity bonus of $300. In that instance, his correct regular rate is calculated as follows:

$10/hour x 50 hours = $500
$2/hour x 50 hours = $100
$300 productivity bonus = $300
Total Paid = $900
Regular rate = $900/50 = $18/hour
Correct OT rate = $27/hour

Day Rate, Piece Rate
Some employees are paid on a “day rate” (i.e. $200 per day worked). Others are paid on a “piece rate” (i.e. $20 for every satellite TV installed, $50 for every brake job completed, etc.). These workers are also generally entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours in a workweek.

To calculate the OT rate owed, you simply take the total amount paid each week and divide it by the total number of hours worked each week. That gives you the “regular rate” for that week. You then multiply the total number of OT hours worked by half of the regular ate. For example:

Tom is a cable technician. He is paid based on production. In one week, he is paid $500 for production. It took him 50 hours to earn that $500. Therefore, his “regular rate” is:

$500 divided by 50 = $10/hour
Tom is owed $5/hour x 10 hours of OT = $50 for the OT he worked that week.

Paid by Salary or Commission
The same principles stated above apply to someone who is paid by salary, but who is eligible for OT pay. You divide the weekly salary by the total number of hours worked each week to come up with the regular rate of pay. You then multiply the number of OT hours worked by half of the regular rate. For example:

Mary earns $800/week as a receptionist. She works 50 hours per week. Her regular ate is: $800/50 = $16/hr. She is owed 10 hours of OT x $8/hour = $80 per week for the OT she worked.

This is a complicated area of the law with lots of exceptions and technical rules. Since 1989, Debes Law Firm has represented tens of thousands of workers across the country who were not paid the correct overtime rate of pay for the OT hours they worked. If you suspect that your employer has failed to pay the proper OT rate, contact Debes Law Firm for a free case evaluation here or call us at 713.623.0900.