The Five Most Common Wage & Hour Questions Answered

When it comes to understanding the complexities of wage and hour laws, people are often left with a variety of questions. In order to provide clarification, the employment attorneys at Maduff & Maduff want to share with you the most common wage and hour questions, and their answers.

What are the wage and hour laws? The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the wage and hour laws set forth by the federal government. Also, many states, counties, and cities also have their own wage and hour laws in place. In Illinois the applicable law is the Minimum Wage Law (820 ILCS 105/1, et seq.) These laws all cover issues like minimum wage, tips, overtime, meal and rest breaks, what counts as time worked, when you must be paid, what your employer must pay for etc.

What is the minimum wage in Illinois? Currently, the minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25 per hour.

Is the minimum wage for tipped employees different? The FLSA allows employers to pay a lower hourly minimum wage to tipped employees, as long as that wage plus the tips adds up to at least the full minimum wage. In the event it does not, the employer must make up the difference. In Illinois, employers can pay tipped employees an hourly wage of $4.95, as long as the employee’s tips bring the total hourly wage up to $8.25.

Am I entitled to earn overtime? All employees are classified as “Exempt” or “Non-Exempt”. This can be a little confusing. Exempt employees are not covered by the minimum wage laws—they are “exempt” from the law’s provisions. Non-exempt employees are covered by the wage and hour laws. In Illinois, non-exempt employees must receive overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a week. (Some employees operating under a union contract may be entitled to overtime pay for hours worked over 8 on a single day or premium pay for working weekends, holidays night shifts. However, the law is only concerned with the number of hours worked in a week.) Exempt employees are generally those in management, outside sales, employees whose jobs require special education or training, those involved in interstate transportation, like over-the-road truck drivers and many more. Everyone else, that is, everyone who is not exempt is considered non-exempt and subject to the overtime laws. If you are not sure of your status you should consult one of the employment lawyers at Maduff & Maduff.

Am I entitled to lunch or rest breaks? Employees in Illinois are entitled to a break of 20 minutes, no later than five hours after the beginning of the shift, but only for employees who work a minimum of seven-and-a-half continuous hours.

If you have questions or need help with your wage and hour concerns, contact the experienced attorneys at Maduff & Maduff today.