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Employee Wage Complaints & What to Do About Them

November 14, 2017

Every employee who has any form of complaint in relation to their regular pay, overtime wages or vacation pay, has the right to take their complaint to the appropriate state employment agency. Oftentimes, this will result in an investigation by the employment agency, and in some cases, can even lead to a lawsuit against the employer or a loss of business license. Some consequences of action taken by an employee can include payments of back pay owed, and fines and costly penalties.

Who deals with complaints filed under federal wage laws? 

The U.S. Wage and Hour Division receive these complaints, and take steps to investigate each case thoroughly. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the main federal law that oversees payment of minimum wage and overtime rates. Some federal laws are also in place to set wage standards on some government funded projects. 

How do you begin the complaint procedure? 

Contacting the nearest office of the U.S. Wage and Hour Division, is the first step to take when beginning the complaint process. You can complain over the telephone or by visiting their office in person, and you’ll need to provide them with your current contact information, job title, a description of the work you’re being paid to undertake, and precise details about how much you were being paid, and how often. You will of course, need to give them the contact information for the company you were working for and details of the person in charge, such as the owner or manager.

 As an employer, what should you do to prevent wage complaints? 

If you’re an employer, the best way to protect yourself from wage complaints from your employees, is to keep accurate and official time records for each member of staff, and ensure that they are paid the amount they are due, when they expect to be paid. 

Should an employee of yours dispute their wages, try to take it seriously and make every attempt to understand and resolve the issue between the two of you. If you can prevent a complaint from being officially filed, then so much the better for both you and your employee, since it would avoid potentially costly fines for you and would result in a better working relationship between you and your employee.

If there is a dispute about one part of an employees’ wages, such as overtime or if they may have worked an extra day or two, then as their employer, you are still obliged to pay the undisputed portion whenever it’s due. 

Wage complaints are commonplace, especially among companies who try to tackle their own payroll, and it is often unintentional mistakes that lead to action being taken. Using the services of a payroll professional will help to ensure that employees are paid accurately and on time, therefore eliminating the need for them to complain, and you will have peace of mind that you are legally compliant in every aspect of payroll, too. 

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