The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the law that applies to wage & hour issues for Georgia hourly employees. The FLSA requires that employers pay all hourly employees at least minimum wage ($7.25) for all hours worked up to 40 hours in a given workweek. And, employers are required to pay hourly workers time and one-half of their hourly wage for all hours over 40 in a workweek. If a Georgia company violates the FLSA, Atlanta overtime attorneys at Martin & Martin fight for not only unpaid wages, but also liquidated damages. Liquidated damages are also called “double damages” because it allows the recovery of double the unpaid wages. For more information on liquidated damages, see below.Off the Clock, Wait Time, and Travel Time
Many employers attempt to skirt the FLSA through a variety of illegal actions. For example, some employers require their hourly employees to clock in after the employee has already started to perform their job duties or clock out but require the employee to continue to perform their job duties. This is called “off the clock” work and it is illegal. The FLSA statute and regulations require that companies pay their hourly workers for all hours worked.
Additionally, the FLSA requires employers to pay hourly workers for “wait time.” Wait time occurs when a company requires an employee to remain on the job or premises without performing their job duties. For example, wait time could include time spent waiting for equipment to be repaired or time spent waiting for other employees to arrive before starting a team meeting. If an employer clocks out the employee or instructs them not to clock, the employer is violating the FLSA.
Another illegal action by employers is their failure to pay for “travel time.” The FLSA requires companies to compensate hourly workers for time spent traveling on behalf of their job. It does not cover the routine time spent traveling from an employee’s home to the regular work location each morning. However, it does cover travel time when an employer sends an employee on a special assignment to a different location. It also covers travel time that is part of the job, e.g., a worker who travels from customer to customer on a routine basis. Additionally, it covers the situation when the employer requires the employees to gather at a location first for a team meeting or to gather supplies at one location before heading to a second location, typically the actual job site.
Compensable off the clock, wait time, and travel time must be compensated at an employee’s regular hourly rate and overtime rate if it occurs beyond the 40 hours in a given workweek.Lunch and Rest Breaks
The FLSA does not require employers to provide their employees with lunch (meal breaks) or other types of rest breaks. However, if a Georgia employer does provide lunch breaks, those breaks must be uninterrupted and completely free of all job duties. Additionally, if the employer provides any other types of rest breaks that are 15 minutes or less, that time must be paid. If they provide longer breaks, that time does not have to be paid if the employee is completely free from all job duties. Typically, issues arise when a company has automatic time deductions set on its timekeeping system for breaks without any regard to whether the employee actually took the breaks or whether the employee was completely free from all job duties. To learn more about meal and rest breaks.Recovery of Liquidated Damages and Attorney’s Fees
Overtime attorneys in Atlanta, Tom Martin and Kimberly Martin, are warriors on behalf of their hourly employee clients. They have successfully represented hundreds of employees in cases involving wait time, travel time, and meal and rest break time. Not only do they passionately fight for all unpaid wages, they also fight for a type of damages called liquidated damages. Liquidated damages are also known as “double damages” because it doubles a worker’s recovery. This means that if an individual recovers $5,000 in unpaid wages, the Court will typically grant the award of an additional $5,000 in liquidated damages.
Additionally, the FLSA provides for successful employees to recover attorney’s fees and costs of litigation from the employer. This means that if successful, Atlanta overtime attorneys at Martin & Martin typically recover all of their attorney’s fees and litigation costs from the employer – not their clients.Martin & Martin Summary of FLSA Questions for Hourly Employees
- Are you an hourly employee who was not paid for all hours worked?
- Did your employer fail to pay you time and one-half for all hours over 40 in a given workweek?
- Did you work off the clock?
- Are you required to perform any work duties prior to clocking in?
- Are you clocked out but forced to wait at work?
- Are you clocked out but forced to continue working?
- Do you take unpaid breaks but they are not uninterrupted and completely free of performing your job duties?
- Are you required to travel to a second location to perform work?
- Does your employer use an automatic time clock deduction system that automatically deducts for lunch and other breaks? Is it accurate?
If you are or were an hourly employee who was forced to work off the clock, during breaks, or not paid minimum wage or overtime pay or not paid for wait or travel time at any time in the previous three years, dedicated FLSA overtime attorneys in Atlanta, Kimberly and Tom, would be honored to speak with you about your case. You can contact them through the Contact Us page or by phone at (404) 831-8721.
You can find additional helpful information for hourly employees here: