Earlier this month, we gave you an overview of the upcoming changes to North Carolina’s overtime regulations. In this post, we’re giving some examples of the types of violations you’ll need to watch out for.
Not Counting Work Done Outside Normal Shift Hours
Some supervisors have the mindset that they only need to pay employees for the work they do onsite from 9 to 5 (or 2 to 10 or midnight to 8 if they work second or third shift). But whether employees are setting up displays for an offsite convention or traveling on company business, they’re still working. It doesn’t matter if the work takes place outside normal hours or away from their normal workspace. These employees deserve to get paid, and that often means overtime. And as an HR professional, it’s your job to make sure your employees get paid properly – and that your company doesn’t get in trouble by not doing so.
Treating Employees Like Independent Contractors
Some businesses rely on independent contractors to perform specialized tasks that may or may not be done on site. And labor laws state that these contractors are not subject to overtime regulations. The problem comes when actual employees of a company have job descriptions that read like contract work. Particularly unscrupulous employers may try to treat these employees like contactors to avoid giving them benefits and paying them overtime. But often, employees are unintentionally mistaken for contractors and aren’t properly for overtime work.
Make no mistake, though, if someone works for and organization and receives payroll checks from that company, they are employees, and must be treated as such.
Reclassifying Non-Exempt Employees
Employees who earn less than $455 in a week are classified as non-exempt – meaning they are entitled to overtime pay. If companies reclassify non-exempt employees as exempt to avoid paying them overtime, they’re violating labor laws and could be forced to pay not only back pay the reclassified employee earned, but also heavy fines.
Protect Your Employees – and Your Company
Make sure your company is following all aspects of the Fair Labor Standards Act, including its overtime rules. Doing so will help you avoid paying penalties, but it also is a critical part of treating employees ethically. And employees who are treated fairly and consistently are more likely to not only stay with their employer, but also serve as effective brand ambassadors.
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