Diana (Taylor) Servos, the lead attorney at S.T. Legal Group, has comprehensive knowledge of Illinois wage and hour laws. More than that, she is adept at communicating that knowledge to her grateful clients. Even though Illinois wage and hour issues may seem straightforward, there are many complexities involved in this aspect of employment law. When trying to disentangle and understand some of the more confusing parts of wage and hour issues, it is best to turn to an astute employment attorney like Diana for explanation and clarification.
Although she is a vigorous litigator, Diana will always try to help you avoid wage and hour disputes by providing you with the information and documentation you need. She will help you understand the parameters of wage and hour laws, whether you are approaching them from the perspective of employer or employee. Her experience in and out of the courtroom enables her to protect you from the lost time, high court costs, and the mental distress of wage and hour disputes that may occur around:
- Failure to pay (or be paid) minimum wage
- Miscalculated rates of pay
- Misclassification of employees as independent contractors
- Failure to pay (or receive) agreed upon commissions or bonuses
The Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act
This law establishes the payment of wages to employees and the legal deductions an employer can make from an employee’s paycheck. At present, in 2020, the minimum wage in Illinois for workers over the age of 18 is $10 per hour but will be raised to $15 per hour by 2025. It is important to note that workers must be classified as exempt (administrative, executive, or professional), or nonexempt. Those categorized as nonexempt are entitled to overtime pay (time and one-half) when they work beyond their regular 40-hour work week.
Other Stipulations by the Illinois Department of Labor Regarding Wage and Hour Issues
To set up a good working relationship between employers and employees in Illinois, both parties should be aware of the following:
- Any employee who works 7 1/2 continuous hours is entitled to a meal break of at least 20 minutes. This break must be given to the employee no more than 5 hours after she/he begins working. (Illinois law requires no other breaks), though employers are expected to allow bathroom breaks.
- Employers are not permitted to withhold or deduct wages until uniforms, tools, or devices are returned to the employer. Employers are also forbidden to withhold earned vacation days or wages if an employee has failed to give notice of termination or because the employee was terminated with cause. Nonetheless, if the employee accepts a check she/he later disputes for an unacceptable deduction, the court will consider the employee’s acceptance of the check an acceptance of the deduction as well.
- Employers cannot deduct from wages for inventory shortages or accidental damages to the employer’s property or equipment. An exception to this rule is made if the employee signs an agreement at the time the deduction is made. In other words, the employee cannot give carte blanche permission to such deductions in advance. The employee may, however, be held accountable to reimburse the employer if the damage to property was intentional or occurred due to gross negligence.
- Legal deductions an employer can legally make from an employee’s pay include:
- Federal and state taxes (e.g. income tax, Medicare taxes, Social Security taxes, Unemployment taxes)
- Child support, if arranged by the court*
- Healthcare insurance, union dues, pension fees (if the employee has signed on)
*It is interesting to note that more than 75 percent of child support comes from income withholding
- If an employee received a cash advance, the employer cannot ask for reimbursement at more than 15 percent per paycheck. However, if the employee owes more than 15 percent of gross wages when terminated, the amount may be withheld from the total amount of final compensation, but only if an agreement to that effect was signed at the time the cash advance was taken.
- If an employer has accidentally overpaid an employee, the entire amount may be deducted on the payday after the discovery of the overpayment, assuming the employee agrees. If the overpayment is not discovered until several paydays have passed, it may be necessary for both parties to seek legal counsel to arrive at a fair repayment plan.
When Wage and Hour Disputes Occur, You Need a Strong Employment Attorney
Although it may seem that sophisticated legislators have written laws to cover every imaginable employment situation, the field is a complicated one and more disputes arise than you might expect. Among them are disputes about:
- Whether an employee has been classified correctly
- Whether an employee has taken too many sick days or vacation days
- Whether an employer has withheld too much from an employee’s paycheck
- Whether an employer has made an improper deduction
- Whether an employer has coerced an employee into signing a wage & hour document
- Whether an employee has deliberately damaged company property
- Whether an employer is being excessively penalized for an unintentional oversight
As you can see, when you have questions about the wages you are receiving, or those you are doling out, your most effective move will be to consult with an experienced wage and hour attorney. If you are already involved in a dispute, the call to action is even more urgent since litigation can be costly and time-consuming. Getting the right legal professional may enable you to resolve the dispute without ever having to go to court.
Call Our Deerfield Wage and Hour Attorney
Diana (Taylor) Servos has the skills and savvy to help negotiate and reconcile most legal wage and hour issues. If your case is unable to be resolved outside of the courtroom, she is the employment attorney you want on your team during litigation. No matter what side you’re on, she will fight to protect your rights. Contact S.T. Legal Group today.