However, not every state has a minimum wage. In fact, in Alabama and four other states (Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee), if an employee isn’t covered under the federal minimum wage, employers can legally pay that worker as little as $1.00 per hour. That’s assuming, of course, that a company could find an employer willing to work for so little. This is because those states have no minimum wage law.
Because of this recent increase, Georgia employers and employers across the country must update their labor law posters. The law requires that whenever a change is made in any labor law, state of federal, companies must display the updates posters in a place where all employees have easy access. Failure to display these posters can result in fines and penalties.
However, even in those states, employees who are eligible for the federal minimum wage must be paid $7.25 per hour. The federal minimum recently increased by 70 cents from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour as part of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007. That Act provided 3 increases in the federal minimum wage over three years. These 70 cent increases took place on July 24 in 2007, in 2008 and in 2009.
Federal minimum wages are set by the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938). The FLSA applies to all businesses with at least $500,000 in annual revenue and to employers engaged in interstate commerce. FLSA can also apply to individual (more…)
The accused 43-year-old man is a Forsyth County Sheriff’s Deputy. His 42-year-old wife and 72-year old father have all been charged by a federal grand jury. The charges include human trafficking, witness tampering, making false statements and harboring an alien, according to US Attorney David Nahmias.
Prosecutors contend that the Georgia couple hired a nanny from India in early 2003. Once the woman was in this country, they stopped paying her and threatened to lock her up if she quit working for them. They held her for 18 months. The woman, alone and unable to contact friends and family in India, apparently believed the couple because of the man’s position as a Deputy and his father’s status as a former judge.
An aerospace defense contractor based in Broomfield, Colorado was ordered to pay almost $1 million in back wages to 904 employees in four states plus the District of Columbia.
The U.S. Department of Labor charges that Ball Aerospace and Technologies, Inc. failed to pay $976,327 in overtime to employees in Colorado, New Mexico, Ohio, Georgia and Washington D.C.
According to sources, an investigation showed that once senior technicians reached the maximum hourly rate, they were arbitrarily and unlawfully changed to salaried-exempt status. The change in pay rate did not include a significant increase in responsibilities. Under federal law, in order to be exempt from overtime pay, employees must have decision-making powers, significant administrative duties or they must supervise three or more people. None of those conditions were met for the 111 technicians in question, so they are due $383, 235 in unpaid overtime.
In addition, all employees were routinely required to work through their lunch periods without any pay. Even if they were not able to take a lunch break, an hour was deducted from their time cards every work day. This violation resulted in payments of $593,092 to 793 employees.
Ball agreed to keep more accurate payroll records in the future, in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA, and to pay all required wages to employees in the future.
In late July, the U.S. Department of Labor forced Desert Plastering, Inc., a Las Vegas Nevada firm, to pay nearly $1.2 million in back pay to 1060 employees. The feds found that Desert Plastering had not paid required overtime to lathers, finishers, plasterers and estimators who worked up to 58 hours per week.
In early July, the U.S. Department of Labor forced 107 subcontractors of KBR, Inc. of Virginia to pay some $1.5 million in back wages and benefits for up to 2,600 workers who participated in the Hurricane Katrina recovery project. The construction workers were involved in repairs to the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport Mississippi or the Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base in Belle Chasse, Louisiana. The U.S. Department of Labor is still searching for some of the workers involved in that case. Anyone who believes that they are owed back wages for these projects can contact the nearest U.S. Department of Labor office. The average payment per worker in that case was $616.
Earlier this year, under a voluntary agreement to prevent a federal suit, Wal-Mart, Inc. agreed to pay $33 million in unpaid overtime wages to 86,680 employees throughout the nation. An internal audit revealed that the company had incorrectly classified some employees as “salary-exempt” when in fact they were entitled to overtime pay. In other cases, the company admitted that it had based overtime pay on the employee’s base hourly rate, not including incentives and bonuses in the employee’s average rate as required by law.
The Fair Labor Standard Act requires that most U.S. employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage, which is currently $5.85 per hour. The FLSA also mandates that employees must be paid 1.5 times their usual hourly rate for each hour over 40 in a single work week.
Many employers mistakenly believe that any worker paid by salary is exempt from overtime. The FLSA does provide a number of exemptions to the overtime law for bona fide executive, administrative, professional and outside sales jobs. In general, employees must meet job duty and salary tests, to be exempt from overtime.
The U. S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division collected more than $171 in back wages for some 246,000 employees in 2006. Thos wages were a result of 31,987 “compliance actions” in 2006.
The bottom line in the Peach State is that the minimum wage there will not be changing any time soon from its current rate of $5.15 per hour, at least not until the next legislative session next year. However, the federal minimum wage could change, and that would change the landscape for employers for sure in the state of Georgia.
The legislative bodies in the state could then decide to increase the state minimum wage to keep pace with the federal minimum wage. Even if the lawmakers don’t take that step, many employers in Georgia will still have to pay the new federal minimum wage if and when that bill gets out of Congress in Washington DC and the President signs it.
That would be the case for large interstate employers in Georgia. The exact cut off—at what point employers become liable for the federal laws on overtime and minimum wage found in the Fair Labor Standards Act—are $500,000 in annual revenue for a business, or whether or not that business has operations or facilities in more than one state. In either case, the employer then would have to pay the higher federal minimum wage if and when it gets passed.
There are also certain other classes of employers that also have to follow the Fair Labor Standards Act, such as hospitals, schools, and other such types of employers. They would all have to pay the higher federal minimum wage too, instead of the lower Georgia minimum wage.
For the time being, the Georgia minimum wage is the same as the federal minimum wage, so this is not an issue. And you Georgia employers do not yet have to worry about tracking down an updated federal minimum wage poster or a new Georgia minimum wage poster. But stay tuned.
The minimum wage situation in Georgia has not changed lately, but according to my sources, it could be changing in the near future. The so called Working Families Caucus in the state’s General Assembly—a group of lawmakers who say they are dedicated to getting laws passed that support working families and their members—has backed a minimum wage bill in the state.
The caucus has about 20 members to it, all Democrat, so they don’t have enough votes to get a bill passed on its own, and it is only recently that the caucus went from being an unofficial group in the Georgia assembly to being a full fledge caucus with its own rules and such.
One of the first bills that the caucus decided to get behind was this minimum wage bill I was telling you about, called SB 13. It would have raised the Georgia minimum wage from $5.15 per hour, its current level, to $7.25 per hour, by the start of the year 2008. the bill would also have made it so that the Georgia minimum wage would have increased every year after that based on what the rate of inflation would be.
The bill would have also made it so that more employees in the state of Georgia would be eligible for the minimum wage, by making fewer classes of employees in the state exempt from receiving the minimum wage. All of this support went down in Feb., last month. The caucus had held a rally to get support for the new minimum wage, but the bill still did not get out of the committee stage in the Georgia General Assembly.
The caucus has said that they will try to find another way to get the minimum wage changed in Georgia, such as trying to get the bill passed again next year.