Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
OMAHA, Neb. -- Linhart Construction Inc. in Omaha has paid $65,772 in back wages following a U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation that disclosed violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act's (FLSA) overtime provisions.
The Wage and Hour Division recovered the back wages for 50 employees of the company, which specializes in landscape construction, after discovering the employer had miscalculated total hours worked by subtracting time taken for rest breaks.
“The Labor Department regularly conducts thorough, rigorous investigations to help ensure workers receive the wages to which they are entitled,” said Percella Maupins, the Wage and Hour Division’s district director in Des Moines, Iowa. “Short rest breaks, if offered, are considered compensable hours under federal law.”
The investigation disclosed that employees took 30 minutes for lunch and two15-minute rest breaks per day. The company deducted one hour per day from total hours worked, when the applicable standard only allowed a 30-minute deduction for lunch. The disparity occurred in weeks where employees worked 40 hours or more, resulting in back wages calculated at a rate equal to time and one-half each employee’s regular rate.
The company has cooperated fully with the Wage and Hour Division and has since come into compliance with the FLSA.
The FLSA requires covered, nonexempt employees to be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $6.55 per hour for all hours worked, and time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked beyond 40 in a week. When employers offer short rest breaks — those usually lasting five to 20 minutes — federal law considers the rest breaks as compensable work hours for inclusion in the sum of hours worked during the workweek and considered in determining overtime.
For more information about the FLSA, call the Department of Labor’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available on the Internet at www.wagehour.dol.gov.
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