Rhode Island’s state labor laws have been written to protect employees from employers’ efforts to take advantage of them. Employers are limited by the laws and must follow them to make sure that employees are not losing any protected rights.
What Is Part-Time vs. Full-Time in Rhode Island?
Unlike most states, Rhode Island does have a law that defines what counts as part-time and full-time employment. In Rhode Island, any employee who works at least 30 hours per week and does not earn less than 150% of the minimum wage is considered full-time.
What Is the Minimum Wage in Rhode Island?
Rhode Island’s minimum wage is $9.60 per hour. Full-time students under 19 years old who work for non-profit religious, educational, librarial, or community service companies are only entitled to a minimum wage of $8.64 per hour. If you are under 16 and work up to 24 hours per week your minimum wage is $7.20 per hour. If you work as a tipped employee, your minimum wage is $3.89 per hour.
Rhode Island adheres to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and for any hours worked over 40 hours per week you will be paid 1 and ½ times the regular pay. In Rhode Island, this law does not apply to executives, administrators or professionals who earn at least $200 per week.
Rhode Island also has limits on mandatory overtime. The law does not allow mandatory overtime for nurses and nurse assistants working in Rhode Island hospitals. Nurses cannot be asked to work over 12 hours during any one shift.
Rhode Island mostly follows the federal law which is the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Any employer that has more than 50 or more full-time employees must offer health insurance. This plan must cover at least 60% of typical health costs. If the company has less than 50 employees, then it is up to them if they will or will not provide health insurance. Rhode Island also has mandatory benefits that must be provided by employers, such as infertility treatments, home health care services, and diabetes care management.
You should check with a local lawyer to determine what health care benefits may be available to you from your employer. Especially now that health care laws may be changing, it is even more important to get expert advice from a lawyer.
Employers cannot discriminate against an employee for several reasons. In every state, employees cannot be discriminated against because of their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or citizenship status. Rhode Island also makes it illegal to discriminate against an employee based on gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, homelessness, HIV/AIDS status, and domestic violence victim status.
If your employer has discriminated against you in a manner that violates federal law, and you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In Rhode Island, you can also file a complaint locally with the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights. Both agencies have their own time limits, so you should check with a lawyer before filing a complaint. It is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for filing a claim against them.
If your complaint is not resolved in either of the agencies, you can then file a lawsuit. In Rhode Island, there is no cap on the amount of damages you can win.
Companies that have 50 or more employees and conduct business in more than one state have to follow the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Under the FMLA, an employee is allowed up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, medical and health benefits during that leave. Employers also have to keep the job for the employee until they come back to work. Rhode Island also has a state fund that sets aside money for employees who need to take time for an illness or to take care of a sick relative.
In Rhode Island, if your employer does give you paid vacation time and you still have some left when you leave a job, then your employer is required to pay that time to you. However, Rhode Island does not require employers to provide any paid vacation time.
Where Can I Find a Local Employment Lawyer to Help Me?
If you feel that your employer may have violated your rights, you may need legal representation. LegalMatch can help you locate a Rhode Island employment lawyer.