Understanding the laws that affect workers is essential for recognizing when an employer is treating an employee unfairly. Despite how fulfilling and rewarding a job may be, its main purpose is for workers to earn money to pay their bills and provide for their families. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act outlines the rules employers must follow to ensure their workers receive fair compensation for the work they do. Knowing even the basics of FLSA may alert a West Virginia worker to behaviors that may constitute wage theft.

Employees may receive hourly pay or a set weekly salary. Anyone who receives a salary may work more or fewer than 40 hours in a work week. However, salaried workers are typically exempt from FLSA rules for overtime, so they may not expect a higher wage if they work longer than 40 hours.

Workers who are paid by the hour are usually nonexempt, which means FLSA’s rules for overtime pay apply to them. They may work up to 40 hours a week at a pay rate that is at least the federal minimum, although West Virginia’s wage is slightly higher. A worker who exceeds 40 hours in a week must receive overtime pay, which is 1.5 times their normal pay rate. This can be a considerable boost to a worker’s pay. It is critical that hourly employees monitor their work hours diligently for signs that an employer is not paying them for every hour they work.

FLSA laws can be complex. These points are only a few of the many that may affect workers. Those who suspect they are not receiving a fair wage would be wise to seek advice from a skilled attorney who understands West Virginia laws as well as federal laws.