Overtime & Unpaid Wage Claims

Overtime and Wages

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act require that nonexempt employees receive overtime pay greater than their regular hourly pay when an employee works more than 40 hours per week (overtime).

Many employers try to avoid paying overtime by simply saying their employees are on salary, even though the employees are working more than 40 hours in a week. In such cases, the employees may still be entitled to overtime pay.

Overtime pay that has not been paid can still be collected up to two years from the date the pay was earned, and up to three years if the employer was conscious of violating the law. In addition, where the employer’s failure to pay overtime is wilful, the employer can be required to pay an additional amount of money equal to the amount owed. This is known as liquidated damages.

Exempt v. Nonexempt Employees

An employee is entitled to overtime pay in the first week that he works more than 40 hours. The key is that the law covers not all employees. The law differentiates between “exempt” employees — employees who are not covered by the law — and “nonexempt” employees who are covered by the law. Issues regarding these exemptions can be very complicated and must be carefully analyzed. Recent changes in Federal laws have changed the nature of certain exemptions.

Employers often make mistakes in deciding which employees are exempt and which are not. You may still be entitled to overtime pay even though: 1) you are on a salary; 2) you have the word “manager” in your title; 3) your employer says you are an independent contractor (you might not be); or 4) your employer tells you that you are exempt. Another common problem occurs when employers fail to calculate weekly pay in accordance with the overtime rules. These calculations can be tricky and it makes good sense to review them with a lawyer.


It is also illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for asking for overtime pay, for contacting an attorney, or even filing a claim. If you complain that you are not receiving overtime pay and the employer fires you, you may have a claim for retaliation. This is a separate violation of the law.

If you have not been paid overtime, or have only been paid your regular wage for overtime hours, you may be entitled to more money. The overtime and wage laws are very complex, but we understand them.

Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law

The Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law (WPCL) prohibits employers from failing to pay employees wages and earned benefits. including earned vacation time and unreimbursed expenses. Under the WPCL employees can recover whatever they are owed as well as a statutory penalty, liquidated damages in an amount equal to an additional twenty-five percent (25%), reasonable attorneys’ fees, interest and costs

Call us today at 267-470-4742 or contact us online to discuss your legal options.

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