Back pay is when you receive money that you haven’t received from your employer that you have been waiting on. This could include money from pay increases, bonuses, promotions, or even hours that were worked that aren’t being accounted for.
There are laws in place that will help make sure that you receive all money that you are due, especially if an employer is unfairly withholding money or not allowing you to receive your back pay in good time. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has provisions in place that will help you recover back pay, such as unpaid minimum pay and unpaid overtime pay.
In a lot of instances, employees will be classified as exempt from overtime laws, which provide extra payment when an employee works overtime hours. Typically the payment required for overtime hours is time and a half, which means you take your normal wage and multiply it by one and a half to get the rate for each hour you work over 40 hours in a week.There are also instances where an employee might feel that they are owed more money while their employer does not agree. If this is the case, you might need to take legal action to attempt to get back pay from your employer. However, you don’t want to rush straight into taking legal action as a first resort for dealing with your problems. The better option would be to try talking with your employer first and seeing if you can come to a solution together, and if it gets contested and stressful then you might want to consider seeking legal action.
You’ll also want to check with your state’s department of labor to see what information they provide and if there are any state laws regulating the payment or rules surrounding back pay. But also keep in mind that an employer cannot intentionally withhold an employee’s pay without permission or as a punishment. And if a worker ceases to work at an establishment, workers will need to be paid their final check for no later than the last pay date they worked and on the workplace’s typical pay schedule.
There are also some additional reasons that your may be eligible for back pay (or back wages):
- You’re not being paid because your employer feels that you couldn’t complete the requirements of the job.
- You change from being an hourly employee to a salaried employee where you receive some back pay due to the transition period.
- You’re being retroactively paid money for a pay increase or promotion, which happens with union members when their new contract agreements are delayed due to an expiration date of a prior contract.
- Your employer doesn’t pay you the minimum wage, which is required by the state you work in. If you also receive underpayment during a holiday or vacation time, you could be eligible for back pay again.
You’ll need to make sure you take all the right steps to stay on top of this issue with your employer, escalating to legal issues if needed. However, you’ll also need to be diligent about tracking your paychecks to make sure you aren’t be screwed over by your workplace.