By Jacob Aronauer, Esq.
Pollack, Pollack, Isaac & DeCicco, LLP is pleased to announce the addition of their employment law practice group. Headed by Jacob Aronauer, we represent employees in all aspects in employment law, including wage and hour, discrimination and other employment cases. A focal point of our employment practice is ensuring that individuals are correctly paid overtime and minimum wage. Our firm has helped numerous employees obtain compensation in both individual and class action cases.
The Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Labor Law enables workers to receive their rights to minimum wage and overtime pay. And even if you receive a salary, you may still be entitled to overtime. Employees are usually required to pay hourly employees and even certain salaried employees an overtime rate of one and a half (1.5) times the regular rate for each hour worked over forty (40) per week. Examples of employees who may be entitled to overtime pay include restaurant workers, construction workers, maintenance workers and interns. Overtime and minimum wage lawsuits have surged in recent years, and currently comprise approximately 10% of the federal court docket in New York. Regardless of what your boss tells you, the reality is that you may be owed unpaid overtime.
Potentially due to this increase in wage and hour litigation, in June 2015, President Obama announced a rule change will make millions more Americans eligible for overtime pay. President Obama’s proposed rule raises the salary threshold below which workers automatically qualify for time-and-half overtime wages from $23,600 to $50,400 a year. In explaining his reasoning, President Obama stated “Right now, too many Americans are working long days for less pay than they deserve.”
The salary threshold is the first part of the two-part text employed by the Department of Labor to ascertain if someone works in an “executive, administrative, or professional capacity.” Currently, the salary test is set at $455 per week ($23,660 per year, if the worker works every week in a year). The second part of the test is a “duties test” which requires that the employee work certain duties described in regulations set forth by the Department of Labor.
The proposed change by the Department of Labor would require an employee to earn $921 per week, or $47,892 annually in order to meet the first prong of test employed by the Department of Labor. The Department of Labor also seeks comment as to possible changes to the duties test, including a requirement that a certain percentage of time be devoted to the exempt duties (currently, the only requirement is that exempt duties be the “primary” duties of the worker, a test which can be met even if those exempt duties do not take up a majority of the worker’s time). We will keep you apprised as to whether the proposed rule change by the Department of Labor is passed.
If you believe that you have been the victim of overtime and/or minimum wage theft, please contact our office at 929-223-4195.