Know Your Rights Regarding Overtime Pay in Ohio
If you get paid by the hour instead of receiving a salary, you probably qualify to receive overtime pay. Even if you are a salaried employee, there is a chance you are misclassified as “exempt” pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act and qualify for overtime pay. This basic overtime law holds true all across the United States, but Ohio residents need to know specifics about their state’s minimum wage and how rules regarding pay are enforced to understand their rights to earn time-and-a-half for working more than 40 hours during a week.
Figure Out if You Earn Ohio’s Minimum Wage
Ohio bases its own wage and overtime laws on the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. The FLSA requires all employers to pay workers at least the federal minimum wage, which in 2018 was $7.25/hour for employees who do not take tips and $2.13/hour for tipped employees.
Ohio currently enforces minimum wages of $8.30 for nontipped employees and $4.15/hour for tipped employees. Importantly, the total pay tipped employees receive in wages and tips must average out to at least what they would receive if they earned a straight minimum wage. Employers are bound by law to make up the difference if tips do not cover the gap between the tipped wage and the basic wage.
Slightly different rules apply to minimum wages for Ohio workers who are younger than 20, people employed in home health care, and public safety personnel such as police officers and firefighters. Consulting with an employee rights attorney will help clarify specific questions about minimum wage and overtime rates.
Know if You Meet the Definition of an Overtime-Eligible Employee
The FLSA sets forth two tests for determining when an employer must classify a worker as “nonexempt,” or eligible for overtime. The first involves weekly pay, and the second concerns job duties.
Under the pay test, a worker is automatically nonexempt if he or she makes $455 or less per week. The job duties test involves determining whether a worker has responsibilities for supervising other employees and setting work schedules, among other duties. Note that an employer can legally classify any employee as eligible for overtime; there is no mandatory cap on eligibility.
Understand That Tipped Employees Qualify for Overtime
Everyone recognizes that a minimum-wage employee in Ohio who puts in more than 40 hours during a workweek should start receiving at least $12.45/hour. Fewer know that a waitperson who goes past 40 hours must begin earning time-and-a-half.
Recognize How Employers Deny Earned Overtime
Calculating overtime and tips for tipped employees is complicated. Employers can easily game this system to both deny overtime and withhold wages. My Employer Didn’t Pay Me for Overtime, What Do I Do?
Another violation of wage and overtime laws that too many employers commit involves misclassifying workers as exempt from overtime. They can do this in many ways, but one of the most common is writing job descriptions that assign supervisory responsibilities while not actually asking workers to supervise anyone.
A third violation takes the form of promising workers compensatory time. The rules under FLSA do allow employees to voluntarily work extra one day and then work fewer hours on another day, but employers are not supposed to demand or require this. When an employer refuses to let a worker to then take that comp time, that company breaks the law.
Demand the Pay You Earned
The FLSA and similar Ohio wage and overtime laws require employers to keep detailed records of all the hours employees work and what employees get paid. Employees can work with employment rights attorneys to demand and review those records to find proof that employees are not being paid fairly.
A successful lawsuit for unpaid wages and overtime can result in back pay, interest on unpaid wages, fines against the employer, and court orders that the employer submits to additional auditing and oversight aimed at ensuring compliance with fair pay laws.