Maryland has strict laws regarding the wages and overtime of employees who work within the state. If you believe that your employer has violated your rights when it comes to wages or overtime you may have a claim for damages. To learn more about your legal options in the Baltimore area, talk to the knowledgeable employment law attorneys at HKM Employment Attorneys, LLP today to schedule a consultation of your case.
Maryland Wage Laws
As of January 1, 2021, the minimum wage for workers in Maryland at businesses with 15 or more employees was increased to $11.75 and for 14 or fewer employees, $11.60. As of June 1, 2019 the state also required that amusement and recreational establishments pay their employees at least minimum wage, and any employee under the age of 18 must earn at least 85% of the state minimum wage.
For employees who earn tips, such as waiters, waitresses, and other hospitality workers, employers must pay a base wage of at least $3.63 per hour so long as those tips equal more than $30 per month. The base rate plus tips must equal at least the state minimum wage, and if it does not, the employer must increase the base wage rate so that all employees make at least the minimum wage.
Exceptions to Minimum Wage Laws
Certain industries and types of workers are exempt from the state minimum wage requirements. This means that an employer is allowed to pay them less than the state required minimum wage. Exceptions to the minimum wage laws include the following:
- Immediate family members of the employer
- Some agricultural employees
- Executives, administrative, and professional employees
- Volunteers for educational, charitable, religious, and non-profit organizations
- Employees under 16 years old working less than 20 hours per week
- Outside salespersons
- Commissioned employees
- Employees enrolled as trainees as part of a public school special education program
- Camp counselors and other non-administrative employees of organized camps
- Concession stands and other establishments selling food and drink for consumption on the premises which gross less than $400,000 annually
- Drive-in theaters
- Businesses engaged in the first canning, packing, or freezing of fruits, vegetables, poultry, or seafood
To determine whether your position qualifies for state minimum wage requirements, speak with an experienced employment law attorney today.
Maryland Overtime Laws
Maryland overtime laws largely reflect the federal Fair Labors Standards Act (FLSA). Under FLSA, employers are required to pay their workers time and a half for all hours worked over a forty hour workweek, unless the employee is exempt. Exceptions to the 40-hour workweek rule include on-premises healthcare institutions that are not hospitals and bowling alleys, where overtime begins after 48 hours of work in a workweek, and overtime does not begin for agricultural workers until after 60 hours of work in a workweek.
Generally speaking, an employer is allowed to mandate that an employee work overtime. Known as mandatory overtime, this practice is allowed so long as the employee is compensated properly for their overtime work. The exception to this rule is for Maryland nurses in certain circumstances.
Exceptions to Overtime Laws
Similar to the exceptions for Maryland minimum wage, there are also exemptions to the overtime laws. Workers excepted from the overtime pay requirements include all categories of workers exempt from minimum wage requirements as well as the following:
- Taxi drivers
- Certain employees selling or servicing personal vehicles, farm equipment, trailers, or commercial trucks
- Promoters for non-profit concerts, theaters, music festivals, music pavilions, or theatrical shows
- Employees subject to certain railroad requirements of the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, the Federal Motor Carrier Act, and the Interstate Commerce Commission
- Certain seasonal amusement and recreational establishment employees
However, it is important to note that this subset of workers must be paid minimum wage even though they may not be subject to overtime laws. Depending on the industry, these claims can be complex, which is why you should always have an experienced Baltimore employment law attorney representing your interests.
Mischaracterization as an Independent Contractor
Sometimes, an employer will categorize employees as independent contractors in order to avoid paying certain benefits, such as workers’ compensation, Social Security, unemployment benefits, and overtime pay. When determining whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor, the Maryland courts typically consider the following:
- Whether the employer has the right to direct and control the worker
- Whether the worker is paid for each job or on a regular basis
- Whether the worker uses their own tools or tools provided by the employer
- Whether the worker received predetermined earnings or if they can personally realize profits or losses in the business
- Whether the worker receives informal or formal training by the employer
- Whether the relationship between the employer and worker is ongoing or if the worker is there temporarily for individual jobs
If it is determined that an independent contractor is actually an employee of the business, they are entitled to substantial compensation, overtime, and other benefits from the employer.
Compensation for a Wage or Overtime Claim
Employees who file valid wage and overtime claims against their employer can collect significant compensation for their case. Compensation for unpaid wage claims can include damages up to three times the unpaid wages plus attorneys’ fees. For failure to pay proper overtime, an employee can receive up to double the amount owed plus attorneys’ fees for the case. Wage and overtime cases can be brought individually by a single employee or as a class action if multiple employees were injured by wage and overtime violations by their employer.
Call or Contact HKM Employment Attorneys Today
As a worker in Maryland, you have a right to be compensated fully for the time that you work for your employer. If you believe that your wage and overtime rights have been violated, the experienced employment lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys, LLP are prepared to zealously advocate for your right to compensation. To learn more, call the office or contact us today to schedule an evaluation of your wage and overtime claims.