Misunderstanding of Overtime Rules

The attorneys at Nardone Limited, in Columbus, Ohio, regularly assist our clients with employment issues, including compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the Department of Labor’s wage & hour standards. The FLSA sets the minimum wage an employer may pay an employee and the Department of Labor enforces compliance with the FLSA’s overtime rule. The failure to follow the overtime rule is a simple, but avoidable, mistake.

Background and General Rule

We have experienced that many of our dental practices do not fully understand the overtime rule.  In general, if we have an hourly employee that works more than 40 hours, we are required to pay that particular employee overtime.  The rule generally says that overtime compensation is to be “time and a half” or 150{c91082aefe0e580fe546c40af534787b48cfd474f8c9ab8dac50bf49a7a1c43a} of the hourly rate of pay for the individual employee. Additionally, salaried employees making less than $455 per week ($23,660 annually) are also subject to the mandatory overtime rule. In December 2016 the threshold was raised by a new Department of Labor rule; however, its implementation is currently on hold due to an injunction and litigation.

Practical Impact on Dental Practices

Overtime issues routinely arise when a dental practice operates more than one location. Oftentimes, the dental practice owner believes that if they have an employee that works 20 hours at dental practice location number one, ten hours at location number two, and fifteen hours at location number three, they are not required to pay overtime because they worked less than forty hours at each location.  But, as indicated above, that is simply not accurate.  The general rule requires that all employee hours worked for an employer, including those performed at a different location, are counted towards overtime. So, in the case of our fictional practice owner, his employee has worked a total of 45 hours, and is owed 5 hours of time and a half pay.

When employers fail to comply with the FLSA, the Department of Labor can bring down severe penalties on the employer. These penalties can include payment of back wages and liquidated damages. As a result, dental practice owners should review their HR and employment policies to ensure that they are operating in conformity with the FLSA. Nardone Limited attorneys are experienced in wage and hour and FLSA compliance, as well as the full range of employment law issues. If you would like more information on the requirements of the FLSA, or need advice or representation in an employment dispute, contact one of our attorneys.