People need to work in order to pay for the expenses they face on a daily and monthly basis. Unfortunately, not all employers want to give their employees a fair and honest wage. To prevent this from happening, many federal and state laws regulate the wages and hours that businesses need to pay their employees.
It is not uncommon for employers to try and skirt these laws. Some may simply pay workers a wage lower than the minimum required. Others may use payroll deductions and false promotions to hide the fact they are not paying fair wages. Any employee who believes they are not making a fair wage should speak to a Chicago Heights wage and overtime attorney who can help them hold their employer responsible and recover any wages they are due.
The minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25, with some exceptions. Some areas, such as Chicago have a higher minimum wage. Other industries, such as the restaurant industry, are allowed to pay a lower wage due to the fact that tipped employees will earn an equivalent or more per hour.
Some employers try to avoid the minimum wage laws in Illinois by employing salaried employees. This is not illegal, but the wage must still meet minimum wage requirements. This means that when the salary paid is divided by the number of hours worked, the total must still be equivalent to, or higher than, minimum wage.
Many employers also use piece rates in order to get away with paying workers lower than minimum wage. In this scenario, employers will pay an employee a certain amount per project, or per each submitted piece. This again is a legal practice. However just like with salaried employees, the total amount per hour must be equal to, or higher than, minimum wage when the total amount paid is divided by the hours worked.
Lastly, employers sometimes mislabel employees in order to avoid paying them minimum wage. They are able to do this because some workers such as independent contractors, outside salespeople, and certain students or trainees are not considered actual employees. When an employer uses these positions to mislabel an actual employee, it is against the law. There are strict laws in place outlining specific criteria these workers must meet. When they do not, employers must label them as employees and as such, pay the mandated minimum wage.
Just as there are laws outlining minimum wage in Illinois, there are also laws pertaining to when employees are entitled to overtime wages. Unfortunately, employers also have ways to get around paying these wages.
One such way is to force employees to work through meal breaks. Illinois labor laws state that any time an employee works for seven and a half consecutive hours, he or she is allowed a 20-minute unpaid meal break. Some employers deduct this time from an employee’s pay, yet force them to work through the break.
Some employers will ask employees to work before or after their shift. For example, an employee has finished their shift and has punched out. Yet, the employer asks them to do just one more thing before leaving for the day. Due to the fact that the employee has punched out, the employer will not pay for that time. This is an illegal practice.
The most common way employers avoid paying overtime is to simply ignore the overtime laws in the state. In Illinois, hourly employees are entitled to receive one and a half times their regular wage for any work performed after they have already worked 40 hours that week. Employers often simply do not pay the overtime rate, or they try to shift the hours to another work week. Both practices are illegal.
Employees work very hard for their money and deserve to receive a fair wage from their employer for that work. When they are denied that wage, including appropriate overtime, they need the help of a wage and overtime lawyer in Chicago Heights.
If you believe your employer has paid you unfairly, call the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline at (312) 558-1454. Attorney Kline knows the law pertaining to federal and Illinois wage and hour laws and will use that knowledge to help you claim what is rightfully yours. Employees do not have to settle for unfair pay. Contact us today so we can begin reviewing your case and get you the wages you deserve.