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There Is No Time Like Overtime

12 February, 2020

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It’s great when your crew has the t-shirt – and the attitude – that says. “A painter doesn’t stop at quitting time, a painter stops when the job is done.” But it’s still important – and mandated by law – that your crew is paid for those extra hours on the job.

Contracting firms in several trades have been cited recently for violating labor laws. E&J Electric, in Solon Iowa (near Iowa City), was required to pay over $125,000 in back wages to over 25 employees. They were cited for three violations: first, the company didn’t pay for required travel time from outlying job sites back to the shop. Second, it offered employees time off for extra hours worked rather than overtime pay, and third, it destroyed some paperwork, then unintentionally deleted files related to the issue.

In Las Vegas, Royal West Drywall a was required to pay over $130K for violating overtime regulations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). A release from the Department of Labor said the company paid drywall installers and painters a piece rate according to the amount of product they installed without regard to the number of hours worked. The company was cited for violations when its employees worked more than 40 hours in a workweek but were not paid overtime.

“Employers are responsible for ensuring piece-rate employees receive all the wages they have legally earned, including overtime,” said Wage and Hour District Director Gaspar Montanez in Las Vegas. “Investigations like this ensure that employees get paid and that employers compete on a level playing field.” He went on to suggest that contracting firms examine their own pay practices to make sure they comply.

The department also reported that in mid-2019, Peoria, Arizona-based Younger Brothers Companies was ordered to pay $723,764 to 271 employees due to violations of the overtime and recordkeeping requirements of the FLSA.

In this instance, the department reported that the employer failed to include all production bonuses and commissions in employees’ regular rates when computing their overtime rates. “The U.S. Department of Labor provides many tools to help employers comply with the law,” says Wage and Hour Division District Director Eric Murray in Phoenix.

Most contractors have experienced a payment dispute with a building owner. A painter in Derbyshire, England took matters into his own hands, claiming he was stiffed for half the agreed upon sum by Terry Turner, a pub owner who hired him for an exterior paint job. Painter Dean Reaves, unable to resolve the issue to his satisfaction, brushed his frustrations right on the front of the building, saying “Want your house painting? Don’t be like Terry, pay the bill! Now you will!”

Turner went on record saying that job wasn’t finished, and in fact that Mr. Reaves could have better spent the time completing the work. Reaves said he’d done the work in question, but then Turner demanded he apply another coat before he would pay. Reaves complied, and then said Turner was further withholding payment unless Reaves painted the fascias, but that they weren’t part of the original agreement. Reaves said he realized by this point he probably wouldn’t collect the rest of his payment but decided that if he wasn’t going to get paid, at least Turner would have to pay someone to remover the graffiti.

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