The US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division recovered more than $1.3 million in back wages for more than 1,300 workers in the oil-and-gas industry since it launched an enforcement initiative covering New Mexico and west Texas in 2014, the agency reported Monday.
The division found overtime violations caused by numerous practices, including misapplying exemptions from overtime; failing to include bonus payments made to employees when calculating overtime rates; not paying for time spent working off-the-clock, before and after scheduled work shifts; and paying flat daily/shift rates without regard to how many hours the employees worked, and without additional premium pay for overtime.
“There is a misconception in the industry that — because workers typically earn more than the minimum wage — they are being paid legally. That is not always the case,” said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division’s Southwest Region. “You can’t pay a flat day rate with no regard for hours worked, misclassify employees as independent contractors, or make deals with employees that violate labor laws.”
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