Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
HONOLULU -- The American Samoa Medical Center Authority has agreed to pay $628,115 in back wages to 481 employees after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that the LBJ Tropical Medical Center in Pago Pago, American Samoa, violated the overtime, minimum wage and record-keeping provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
“Employers must properly track and pay employees for actual hours worked to ensure that they are paid the minimum and overtime wages required under the FLSA,” said Terence Trotter, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Honolulu District Office, which conducted the investigation. “This case should put other employers on notice and encourage them to ensure that record keeping and payrolls accurately reflect hours worked so that their employees are properly compensated.”
The Wage and Hour Division determined that the employer failed to pay employees $589,622 in overtime wages and $38,493 in minimum wages for hours worked outside of their scheduled shifts, including through meal breaks, disregarding actual start and end times recorded by a time clock.
Affected employees include certified nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses, housekeepers and food service assistants, among others. LBJ Tropical Medical Center is the only hospital in American Samoa and has one of the territory’s largest workforces, with approximately 680 employees. In addition to paying the back wages owed, the employer has agreed to comply with the FLSA in the future.
Minimum wage rates in American Samoa are set for particular industries. The FLSA currently requires that government sector employees in American Samoa be paid at least $4.41 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Annual minimum wage increases of $.50 per hour in American Samoa will recommence on Sept. 30, 2012. The increases will continue until all rates in all industries have reached the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour. To view a list of the various minimum wages for industries in American Samoa, visit http://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/americanSamoa/ASminwage.htm. Additionally, the FLSA requires employers to maintain accurate time and payroll records.
The Labor Department has a smartphone application to help employees independently track the hours they work and determine the wages they are owed. Available in English and Spanish, users conveniently can track regular work hours, break time and any overtime hours for one or more employers. This new technology is significant because, instead of relying on their employers’ records, workers now can keep their own records. This and other Labor Department apps are available at http://www.dol.gov/dol/apps.
For more information about the FLSA, employers and employees in American Samoa can call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or its Honolulu office at 808-541-1361. Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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