What is Wage Theft in Arizona?
July 24, 2017
Wage theft occurs when an employer fails to pay a worker for the time he or she has worked. In Arizona, employers are required to follow state and federal laws governing how much employees are paid and when they are to be paid.
If your employer has failed to properly pay you the wages you are owed, you may be entitled to take legal action and recover compensation. If you have any questions about filing a wage theft claim against your employer, contact our dedicated Phoenix employment law attorneys for a consultation.
Who Can be Paid Minimum Wage in Arizona?
As of Jan. 1 2017, the minimum wage in Arizona is $10 per hour. Although most employees in Arizona are entitled to pay equal to or greater than the state’s minimum wage, there are some exceptions.
The rights of tipped employees are slightly different than traditional workers. Tip-based workers, such as restaurant servers, are exempt from earning Arizona’s minimum wage. Instead, an employer can pay a lower hourly rate as long as workers are able to make enough in tips to bring their earnings up to the state’s minimum wage.
Additionally, Arizona’s minimum wage law does not apply to those who are employed by:
- A sibling or parent
- A small business that grosses below $500,000 in annual revenue if it is not mandated by the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to pay minimum wage
- The state or federal government
- Casual services, such as babysitting in the employer’s home
- Independent contractors who are not considered employees
If your employer fails to compensate you at a rate equal to Arizona’s minimum wage, you may file an unpaid wage claim with the Industrial Commission’s Labor Department.
Who is Entitled to Overtime?
The FLSA states that employees who have worked more than 40 hours in one workweek should be paid an overtime rate of one and a half times their usual wage.
Unfortunately, many employees are uninformed or have misconceptions about overtime. This often results in employees not receiving the overtime pay they are guaranteed under the FLSA.
Most employees covered by the FLSA are entitled to overtime, including:
- Employees who earn less than $913 per workweek, or an annual salary less than $47,476
- Employees of a company or enterprise with gross annual sales of $500,000 or more
- Employees of a hospital, business providing medical or nursing care for residents, schools and public agencies, regardless of the gross annual sales or business done
Paid vs. Unpaid Break Periods
Employers are legally obligated by federal employment law to pay an employee for every hour he or she has worked.
However, it is up to each state to form its own laws regarding mandatory paid and unpaid break time for employees. This includes a bona fide break for meals or rest periods that the employee is not paid for. During this time, an employee must be free of all job-related duties. If an employee is required to work during a break period, he or she must be paid for this time.
In Arizona, small breaks lasting five to 20 minutes are considered to be part of the standard workday and will be paid for.
Contact Our Employment Law Lawyers to Find Out if You Have a Case
At Phillips Law Group, we are committed to helping victims of wage theft and will work diligently to pursue your claim and help recover the compensation you are owed.
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