Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an employer is not required to pay for time not worked, such as holidays (religious or federally-mandated) or personal vacations.  Holiday and vacation pay are generally items that are agreed upon by an employee and employer as a condition of employment.  

When Can I Pay my Employees Less than Minimum Wage?

The FLSA provides certain circumstances when an employer need not pay a minimum wage.  These circumstances include when full-time students are employed by higher education institutions, agriculture or retail businesses.  Also covered by this "sub minimum wage" policy are individuals whose earning capacity is hindered by physical or mental impairments related to the job they are to perform.   

What is Hazard Pay?

Hazard pay is additional pay for engaging in work that is physically demanding or potentially very dangerous or ultra hazardous.  This may include work in mines or nuclear power plants.   There is no requirement under the FLSA that stipulates any payment for hazard pay except for a provision stating that it should be included as part of an employee’s regular pay.   

What are the Laws Regarding Commission Payments and Tips?

Sales commissions are usually awarded to employees who complete a certain task, such as in the selling of real estate.   Employers often pay commissions as rewards to increase an employee’s work output.  Commissions may be used in place of salaries or in addition to them.  The FLSA does not address, nor require the payment of commissions.   Tips are usually paid when an employee complete a service task, such as a waiter in a restaurant or a barber who cuts hair.  Under the FLSA, an employer is required to pay at least $2.13 an hour to a tipped employee.  If the employee’s tips plus $2.13 does not add up to the Federal minimum wage, then the employer must make up the difference. Some states have set higher minimum wages for tipped employees, but other states adhere to the federal minimum wage.

Do I Need to Pay My Employee More Money if He/She Has a High Level of Education?

Generally speaking, jobs that require high levels of education and skill pay higher wages than jobs that require few skills and little education.  While there is no law requiring an employer to pay more for an employee who has a higher level of education, they are more likely to attract better skilled employees if they offer higher salaries. 

Do I Need to Consult an Experienced Attorney Regarding my Wage Issues?

Labor laws can be a complex and confusing issue.  Consulting an employment attorney knowledgeable in the requisite labor laws that pertain to your business can help you stay in compliance with any applicable state and federal regulations.  Additionally, an attorney can assist you in disputing a wage lawsuit brought by a current or former employee.