Wage and Hour Rights During COVID-19: Answering Your Questions

woman telecommuting Telecommuting. Irregular schedules. Pay cuts. We may be living in unprecedented times, but employers still need to comply with federal and state labor laws. Ahead, our Chicago attorneys answer questions about your rights during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Can I Get Paid for Responding to Emails and Text Messages After-Hours?

It may not seem like a big deal to respond to emails and text messages after your workday ends. After all, what difference do a few minutes make when you’re already home? Well, it might make a big difference in terms of wage and hour laws.

If you’re answering emails, texts, or calls after hours as a nonexempt employee, you might be working a significant amount of additional compensable time. That compensable time could even come at an overtime rate. If you don’t get paid for work that you are expected to perform outside of your typical business hours, you may have an overtime violation claim.

Can My Employer Cut My Pay Because of COVID-19?

Many businesses are still struggling financially. To stay afloat, some are taking out loans, while others are resorting to more drastic measures like cutting employees’ wages. Is the latter option legal?

Generally, employers can reduce employees’ pay during a business slowdown due to COVID-19. However, there are a few caveats, including a minimum legal pay rate.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an employer cannot decrease a nonexempt employee’s pay to the point that it falls below the federal or state minimum hourly wage — whichever is higher. Similarly, an exempt employee’s pay cannot be reduced to less than $684 per week under the FLSA or under the state-mandated amount — whichever is higher. Paying less is a form of wage theft.

Can I Sue Over Wage and Hour Violations Right Now?

Labor laws have not been suspended during the pandemic. You may be able to sue your employer for the pay that you rightfully deserve.

If you’ve been the victim of wage theft, overtime violations, or another wage and hour infringement, our attorneys want to help. Call Markoff Leinberger today at 888-517-9115 for your free case evaluation. Located in Chicago, Illinois, our law firm serves clients from across the country.

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