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What protections do you have under the Fair Labor Standards Act?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is one of many pieces of federal legislation that provides workers in almost every state including New Jersey with standardized, bare minimum rights or protections.

Any employer covered by FLSA must pay their nonexempt employees (hourly workers) overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours in a given week. The overtime rate of pay must be at least 1.5 times the employee's standard one.

Overtime pay cannot be withheld simply because an employer prohibits overtime. If a nonexempt employee works overtime, even if it's unauthorized, then they must be paid 1.5 times their regular rate of pay. Although the employer must pay overtime, they may be entitled to discipline any worker who does work more than their scheduled hours without first seeking prior authorization from their supervisor.

Private sectors are not allowed to offer compensatory (comp) time, or paid time off, instead of overtime. This practice is permitted in the public sector though.

Each workweek is different and must be viewed separately. This means that an employer cannot average the hours out that a worker put in from across several weeks to avoid paying overtime. Take, for example, an employee who works 50 hours one week and 30 hours the next. Even though the combined total is 80 hours, the employee in this instance would still be entitled to overtime pay for the 10 additional hours they worked during the first week.

Rest periods are considered work hours. This means that an employer must consider them when determining whether an employee has worked more than 40 hours.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) defines a rest period as any break of 20 minutes or less. that an employee takes. The federal agency considers any worker that gets a 30 minute or more break to be completely relieved of their duties. This means that a worker cannot count this time as work to determine overtime.

If you have been denied overtime by your Burlington employer, even though you worked more than 40 hours and you're a nonexempt hourly employee, then you may be entitled to monetary damages. An attorney may be able to help determine if FLSA applies in your legal matter, and if so, what's the best course of action for you to take based in your New Jersy case.

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