What Ohio Labor Laws Protect Against Unpaid Wages?

Ohio enforces several laws to protect workers from unpaid wages. The majority of these state statutes appear in section 4111 of the Ohio Revised Code, which spells out requirements for employees to pay a minimum wage and to offer overtime pay to hourly employees who put in more than 40 hours of work during a  workweek. Special wage and hour protections also exist for disabled workers, workers between the ages of 14 and 18, women who do the same jobs as men, state contractors, and individuals with negotiated employment contracts.

If you believe your employer is withholding pay from you or your co-workers, you can file a complaint with the Bureau of Wage and Hour Administration in the Ohio Department of Commerce. You should consider consulting with an unpaid wage lawyer in Columbus before taking that step, however. HOME CARE WORKERS: OVERTIME AND OTHER WAGE AND HOUR LAW

Seeking protection under state minimum wage, prevailing wage, child labor, equal pay, employment contract, and overtime laws requires collecting and organizing a great deal of information. Asking for those details can anger managers and supervisors.

Working with a lawyer who has handled numerous unpaid wage cases will make it possible for you put together a strong case for the payment of back wages and the correction of illegal and unfair payment practices. Your lawyer can also take steps to protect you from retaliation like getting fired or demoted for looking into problems with pay.

Brief details on four of the most important wage protection laws in Ohio follow. You can learn more and discuss a possible unpaid wages case with an employee rights attorney. Free and confidential consultations with a Columbus, Ohio, unpaid wages attorney can also be scheduled by filling out this online contact form.

Ohio’s Minimum Wage

On Jan. 1. 2018, Ohio’s minimum wage for most workers will increase to $8.30/hour from the previous $8.15/hour. Tipped employees like bartenders and servers can be paid a lower hourly wage of $4.15.

Pursuant to the Ohio Constitution, employers must keep detailed records of the hours each employee works, how much they pay each employee, and whether employees accept tips or commissions. The rules used to enforce the minimum wage law ensure that all employees earn at least the hourly rate. This means that, as of the first day of 2018, even tipped employees and those who take commissions must average at least $8.30/hour.  Tipped employees can be paid an hourly wage plus tips to equal $8.30/hour.

Overtime Eligibility

Ohio follows guidelines established under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act to determine which employees qualify to earn overtime. These laws are very complex so it is best to consult with an Ohio overtime lawyer to discuss whether or not you are entitled to overtime pay.

Importantly, tipped employees are eligible for overtime. This will continue being true even if the other rules change.

Workers Younger Than 18

Under section 4109 of the Ohio Revised Code, children can start working at 14. A few exemptions exist for family-owned businesses and farms.

Teens must have signed authorizations from parents or guardians to work before turning 18. They are also barred from taking certain dangerous or highly skilled jobs like those in many factories.

When a company or agency hires a teen, it must pay him or her at least minimum wage and comply with restrictions on work hours and mandatory breaks. Violating a rule like the one that requires a 30-minute break after five hours on shift makes the employer subject to fines and other penalties.

Employment Contract Enforcement

Ohio does not require employers to offer paid vacations, severance, or other employment benefits. When individual employees or group of employees sign contracts that specify such benefits, however, employers must provide them.

A skilled Columbus, Ohio, wage attorney will be able to review, negotiate, and help enforce employment contracts on behalf of employees.

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Home Care Workers: Overtime and Other Wage and Hour Law

Before 2015, home care workers were excluded from the federal minimum wage and overtime protections provided by the Fair Labor and Standards Act. They are now covered by these laws, but the nature of their work and the services they provide are unlike the traditional “9 to 5” hours under which many other employees operate.

Wage and hour division of the United States Department of Labor has a helpful guide that outlines exactly how home care workers are paid, exemptions for overtime, and how employers can properly follow the regulations set forth under FLSA. As an employer of a home care worker, it’s critical that these regulations are adhered to, as violating them is not only hurtful for your company but those who need in-home care benefit greatly from a stable workforce of home care workers.

If you are a home care worker, it’s pertinent to know your rights and when they are being violated, so let’s lay it out in layman’s terms by making important distinctions. At the end of this, if you still have questions about overtime and wage and hour law, contact a wage and hour lawyer in Ohio to help you determine if your rights are being violated or not.

Are You a Live-In Home Care Worker?

To be a live-in home care worker, you must live at the client’s house or spend at least 120 hours—or five consecutive days or nights—in the client’s home per week. This rule excludes home care workers who perform 24-hour shifts but do not spend 120 hours or five consecutive days or nights.

As a live-in home care worker, you still have rights to breaks, sleep, meals, and “off-duty” time. These off-duty hours are different than breaks in that they must be long enough for the worker to pursue personal enjoyment effectively. If you are only receiving a minimal amount of off-duty time and cannot effectively make use of your personal time, then talk with your employer or a Columbus wage and hour lawyer to rectify the situation.

Are You Employed Directly by the Client?

Working in home care, employees may be employed either directly by the client or through an agency. Although you still must be paid minimum wage for all hours worked, this is an important distinction to make as there are a couple of exemptions to overtime payment.

For example, if a home care worker is hired to provide live-in services directly by the client, then the employee is employed by the client only. While the home care worker is still entitled to minimum wage, the client may be exempt from paying overtime, as the value of the housing the employee receives may count toward the wages the client is required to pay.

If a home care worker is employed by an agency that assigns employees to clients, then only the agency is responsible for ensuring that the worker receives overtime pay. Only clients may use the live-in domestic service employee exemption.

Are You Paid Hourly or Daily?

Home care workers—usually employed directly by clients—can be paid a daily rate, as long as the calculated hourly wage still meets the $7.25/hour federal minimum. For example, if a home care worker was paid $50 a day, and works five hours a day for five days, then in that week, they are being paid $10/hour, meeting the minimum requirement. The next week, they may work a total of 40 hours while being paid $50 a day. In that work week, the calculated minimum wage is only $6.25/hour, and the employer must pay an additional $1/hour to reach the minimum wage.

Keeping track of days and hours worked is important to ensure accurate record keeping and minimum wage or overtime are being kept. In the case that you are not being paid correctly through your employer, whether it be hourly, daily, by client, or by agency, it’s important to have your own records and contact a wage and hour lawyer in Ohio to go over your case.

Coffman Legal is a Columbus employment attorney that specializes in unpaid overtime and wages. The employees of Ohio are important to maintaining an economically and socially encouraging environment for Ohio, and Coffman Legal recognizes that importance. The law firm happily welcomes any case to protect the rights of and improve the lives for employees.

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