In today’s economy, many Ohio workers are simply glad to have some level of income, regardless of its size. However, it is important for workers to realize they have certain rights under the law with respect to how much they are paid for hours worked. Just about any Ohio employment lawyer will tell you individuals who are paid on an hourly basis have a right to be paid for each and every hour worked, and requests to have employees work “off the clock” violate the law.
Ohio has very specific laws with regard to minimum wage, and some employees may not realize there are also certain rules specific to overtime, breaks/meals, and leave (if leave benefits are offered by the employer).
Minimum Wage Rates
Currently, Ohio’s minimum hourly wage for employers with gross receipts of $292,000 or more is $7.95; however, if an employer falls below $292,000 in gross receipts, their minimum wage rate must coincide with the federal minimum wage rate of $7.25. Ohio workers should be aware that if their employers choose to pay minimum wage, they must be paid in accordance with either state or federal law, utilizing the law to allow for the employee to be paid the higher wage.
With respect to employees who work in industries where they can receive tips, those workers should note that employers are permitted to pay them less than minimum wage, but only if the employee will reach minimum wage after tips. If an employee works and finds even after tips he or she does not reach the minimum wage rate, the employer will be required to pay the employee the difference.
Unless an employee is exempt from overtime pay, employers are required to pay employees at least one and a half times the individual’s normal rate of pay for any hours worked over 40 during a normal work week. As your Ohio employment lawyer will tell you, not all types of jobs will be eligible for overtime pay; therefore, it is important for any worker with questions about overtime pay to speak directly with his or her employer.
Pay for Meals and Breaks
Young Ohio employees who are under the age of 18 are entitled to at least a 30-minute break without interruption if they work for more than five hours consecutively. However, this rule does not apply to workers who are over 18. The law does not obligate employers to offer employees breaks (including lunch), but if an employer does decide to offer a break that is more than 20 minutes, that employer will not be required to pay for that lunch or break if the employees are allowed to leave the job during such breaks.
Leave – Vacation, Holiday and Sick
Employers in Ohio are not required to offer employees vacation, sick leave (except where the Family and Medical Leave Act, or “FMLA”, may apply) or holiday leave benefits. However, if an employer does offer vacation and/or sick benefits, they will need to comply with whatever the established contract terms and/or policies were at the time of employment. With respect to holiday leave, employers are not expected to provide paid or unpaid holiday leave.