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FLSA: Is There A Statute of Limitations?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) established the minimum wage, overtime pay, and minor employment standards and reporting.Under FLSA covered employees are eligible for at least $7.25 an hour for pay (Florida is higher than the national minimum) and overtime pay for work weeks above 40 hours (for nonexempt employees). Overtime pay shall be paid at (at least) 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate. While FLSA stipulates overtime payments, it does not dictate the payment of holidays or weekends. The FLSA is a minimum that governs employers in the US. Some states, like Florida, have chosen to enact additional laws and guidelines. Each year, Florida minimum wage increases based on a cost of living calculation. But not everyone is eligible to be paid at minimum wage.

Who is Protected Under the FLSA?

Most jobs are governed by the FLSA but some are not. They may be industry specific like agricultural workers, retail service workers, fisherman, newspaper delivery people, taxi drivers, and theater employees. Also, if an employee is governed under another employment law and regulation, such as the Railway Labor Act or the Motors Carrier Act, they are not covered under the FLSA. Small businesses grossing under $500,000 a year do not have to pay employees minimum wage. Tipped employees receive “direct wage” instead of minimum wage. Companies employing full-time students can apply to reduce the minimum wage owed the students by 15%. If you are eligible for minimum wage and your employer has failed to pay you at Florida’s rate, consult a wage dispute attorney on your rights.

Exempt or Nonexempt

There are two classifications of employees in the U.S., exempt and nonexempt. Nonexempt employees are entitled to overtime. Exempt (or salaried) are not. Classification can be tricky. Some companies classify their employees incorrectly to avoid paying overtime. An employment attorney can help you figure out if your position is classified correctly or not. Documentation through the Department of Labor can also help you better understand how they arrive at the classifications. Exempt employees have few rights outside of their full base salary under the FLSA. “Mandatory overtime” is not restricted for this group so understanding your classification is essential to figuring out whether you are owed unpaid overtime.

Changes in Exemption

Sometimes employees are wrongfully categorized by accident or misinformation. Often employers make this change to be in compliance with labor laws. If your company recently recategorized you from exempt to nonexempt, you may be eligible for up to three years back overtime pay.

Statute of Limitations on FLSA

If you think you were wrongly classified as exempt, or you are owed unpaid wages or back pay, you generally have two years to seek restitution. However, in cases of willful violations of job classifications by your employer you may have up to three years. Don’t miss out on back pay or overtime that is owed you. Contact an employment attorney at Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A. today. Isn’t it time you knew and received what you rightly deserved?
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