Wage and Hour Law
Wage and hour law is one aspect of employment law. Georgia has its own wage and hour law; but it is of little benefit to employees. Fortunately, federal wage and hour law applies in most circumstances. The most important aspects of federal wage and hour laws include minimum wage, overtime wages, and child labor hours. If your employer has violated one of these laws, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. You should contact a wage and hour attorney to be sure, but it’s a good idea to get an overview of the laws first.
Read on to learn more about wage and hour law in Georgia.
Important Aspects of Wage and Hour Laws
Georgia has the lowest minimum wage of any state in the country besides Wyoming, which has the same minimum wage. Georgia’s minimum wage is $5.15 per hour. However, the federal minimum wage applies to most employees. The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour.
There are numerous exceptions to these minimum wage regulations. For example, tipped employees only need to be paid $2.13 per hour. However, their hourly wage must equal $7.25 or more. Otherwise, their employer will have to make up the difference.
Workers under the age of 20 may be paid a “training wage” for their first 90 days. The minimum wage in this situation is $4.25 per hour.
Full-time students have a minimum wage of $6.16 per hour when working certain jobs. Work study jobs are in this category.
Often times, employees are compensated solely on the basis of tips or commission. This is often the cause of a minimum wage violation.
Although there is no Georgia overtime law, the federal law provides a robust remedy for employees who work long hours. Employers who pay an hourly wage must pay 1.5 times an employee’s regular hourly rate for work over 40 hours in a week. Many employers try to avoid this obligation by paying workers on a salaried basis, or by classifying them as independent contractors or as exempt from overtime. Contrary to popular belief, a salary alone cannot exempt an employee from overtime. Most independent contractors who work for all intents and purposes as employees, are employees. Many employees who are classified as exempt are actually non-exempt.
Child Labor Laws
Under federal law, no child under 12 may be gainfully employed. However, this regulation does not cover self-employment, such as running a lemonade stand or mowing lawns for cash.
Children are allowed to begin working at the age of 12 in Georgia. However, 12-yearolds and 13-year-olds must receive approval from their school district before beginning work. It is also important to note that any employer that wants to employee minors under 16 must receive authorization from the state first.
Most employers will not employ children under the age of 14. Workers under the age of 16 are subject to strict regulations that govern when and how long they are allowed to work. Federal regulations supersede Georgia regulations in this circumstance, as they are stricter.
Children under the age of 16 can only work three hours per day on a school day. They can work eight hours per day on a non-school day. These employees are not allowed to work during school hours. They also can’t work before 7 AM or after 7 PM on nonschool days. Children under the age of 16 can work 18 hours when school is in session or 40 hours when school is not in session.
Full-time high school and college students can’t work more than 20 hours per week when school is in session. However, they can work 40 hours per week when school is not in session.
An Experienced Employment Attorney Can Help With Wage and Hour Cases
An experienced employment law attorney will give you the best chance of winning your case. The highly experienced employment law attorneys at DeLong, Caldwell, Bridgers, Fitzpatrick & Benjamin can help guide you through the legal process, which will increase your chances of success. Less experienced employment attorneys may not have the knowledge to navigate complicated employment law cases, which may reduce your chances of success if you work with them.
If you believe that you may have a legitimate employment law case under Georgia law or federal law, contact DeLong, Caldwell, Bridgers, Fitzpatrick & Benjamin. We can discuss your case with you to see if we can move forward. We may be able to help you file a suit. Our firm has helped many clients win substantial settlements in employment law cases.