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Understanding your wage and overtime rights

It is not uncommon for businesses to try to cut corners and make small changes to increase production and ultimately increase profits for the company. Many times, however, it is the employees who suffer from these changes. While some of these cuts may be obvious, like fewer freebies in the kitchen or no holiday parties or bonuses, other areas, including wages and overtime, may also be affected.

It is important to always keep track and be aware of the hours you have worked and compare it with each of your paychecks to make certain your wage is what is should be and that no hours have been cut or manipulated. Although companies may have a right to lower or change your hours based on your contract, hourly workers are still entitled to minimum wage.

In addition, employees who work over 40 hours during a work week are entitled to overtime pay, though there are certain criteria to determine whether you qualify for overtime pay. Some salaried employees are not covered including, for example, a salaried employee who is considered an executive who does primarily non-labored work and has a management position, a learned professional who deals in the fields of the sciences or learning and a creative professional whose duties involve imagination, invention or a field of artistic or creative endeavors.

Laws are on the books to protect employees from companies or businesses who may take advantage of their workers. Understanding the laws and how they apply to you is crucial for your personal success and career, as well as your financial success. Do not let a company take advantage of you, and if you are involved in a wage-and-hour dispute, it may be wise to get more information about your options under the applicable employment laws.

Source: "Minimum Wage and Overtime Basics," Accessed on Oct. 12, 2015

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