Flagler Hospital, a nonprofit hospital in St. Augustine, Fla., has been ordered to pay $107,185 in back wages to 141 employees for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the U.S. Department of Labor announced Feb. 5.
After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), investigators found the hospital automatically deducted time from emergency room and labor and delivery employees’ timecards for meal breaks even when they worked through those breaks. This unpaid work time resulted in overtime being due when it occurred in workweeks longer than 40 hours. By improperly deducting the time, the employer also produced inaccurate records of the number of hours employees actually worked, violating FLSA recordkeeping requirements.
“Non-profit organizations are not excluded from the pay requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act,” said Wage and Hour District Director Daniel White, in Jacksonville, Florida. “Employees must be paid all the wages they have legally earned. We encourage all employers to reach out to us for assistance and to use the variety of tools we offer to ensure that their pay practices comply with federal law.”
The department offers numerous resources to ensure employers have the tools they need to understand their responsibilities and to comply with federal law, such as online videos, confidential calls, or in-person visits to local WHD offices.
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd.
WHD’s mission is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation’s workforce. WHD enforces federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes. Additionally, WHD administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act and other statutes applicable to federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.
Nonprofits should have to understand the critical importance of employee classifications and how to make the determination between exempt and nonexempt employees in order to avoid law violations.
Understanding the Fair Labor Standards Act, which guarantees a minimum wage and overtime pay for many workers in the United States is very important for nonprofits. To properly comply with the law and treat employees fairly, nonprofits need to know which employees are exempt and which are not.
Who Is Considered an Exempt Employee?
Before a worker can be considered an exempt employee, which means they are ineligible for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act, three factors must be met:
- Salary basis. The employee must be paid a predetermined and fixed salary that can’t be reduced based on variations in the amount of work performed.
- Salary level. The employee’s salary must meet or exceed a specified minimum.
- Duties. The employee’s work must primarily involve executive, administrative or professional duties. There are exceptions to this rule. For example, certain computer professionals, salespeople and other generously compensated employees may meet these requirements.
To be clear on whether an employee is exempt from overtime pay or not, a salary or a professional job title isn’t enough. To be considered an exempt employee, they must meet all three requirements.
All other workers are considered nonexempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which means they must receive at least minimum wage (currently $8.56 per hour in Florida) and get paid at least one and one-half times the regular rate for any hours beyond 40 in a single working week.
It is important to point out that hospitals, schools and preschools, government agencies and businesses that provide medical or nursing care for residents are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act regardless of annual sales or nonprofit status.