Wage and Hour Laws, Violations, and Protections

Doug Mann

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Table of Contents
  1. Minimum Wage 
  2. Overtime
  3. Frequently Asked Questions

Ohio wage and hour laws set the basic standards for employee pay and time worked, and cover issues such as minimum wage, tips, overtime, meal and rest breaks, and when an employee must be paid. 

Most people rely on their employers to treat them fairly and comply with pertinent Federal and state laws in terms of their wages and hours. But sometimes employers make mistakes about what the law requires of them. In other cases, they may intentionally violate workers’ rights. Below are some basic legal requirements regarding Ohio’s wage and hour rules that will help you better understand your legal rights as an employee.

Minimum Wage 

As of January 2021, Ohio Employers whose gross receipts are greater than $314,00 annually must pay their Employees an hourly minimum wage of $8.80. Tipped Employees can be paid a minimum wage of $4.40, as long as their tips bring them up to the hourly minimum wage of $8.80. The rate is reviewed in September of each year and adjusted according to the Consumer Price Index. Any change takes place on January 1 of the subsequent year. Ohio Const., art. ll §34a.

Overtime

Ohio labor laws require an employer to pay overtime to employees, unless the employee is otherwise exempt, at the rate of one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek. This overtime requirement does not apply to employers who gross less than $150,000 per year. 

A number of Ohio workers are exempt from minimum wage. The most common  exceptions to the overtime laws are for so-called “white collar” workers, defined as “administrative, executive, or professional.” These employees are those paid on a salary basis who spend most of their time performing job duties that require the use of discretion and independent judgment.

This is a partial list of other types of Employees that are also exempt from overtime requirements:

  • Independent contractors
  • Outside salespeople 
  • Certain computer specialists 
  • Employees of seasonal amusement or recreational businesses
  • Employees of organized camps, or religious or nonprofit educational conference centers that operate for fewer than seven months a year
  • Employees of certain small newspapers
  • Newspaper deliverers
  • Workers engaged in fishing operations
  • Seamen
  • Employees who work on small farms
  • Casual domestic babysitters and people who provide companionship to those who are unable to care for themselves 

Frequently Asked Questions

My Employer sometimes makes me work 7 days a week. Is that legal? 

That is not a violation of Ohio’s wage and hour laws. The State of Ohio has no laws pertaining to the maximum amount of hours or days worked in a week. It does require, though, that you be paid at least minimum wage for all hours worked, and that you receive one and one-half times your regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 hours in a week.

I’m a salaried Employee. Does this mean I am not entitled to overtime?

Not necessarily. Just because you are salaried, rather than hourly, the worker doesn’t mean you are not entitled to overtime. However, if you are paid at least $684 per week and your job meets certain other criteria, such as you spend most of your job performing duties that require discretion and independent judgment, you might be considered exempt from overtime. This is an area where employers often make mistakes, so if you are unsure about whether you are exempt or entitled to overtime, it’s important to check with an employment lawyer.

My employer only pays me once a month. Is that allowed? 

That is a violation of Ohio’s wage and hour rules. Ohio Rev. Code § 4113.15 requires that an employer must pay Employees at least twice per month. As an example, all hours worked from the 1st to the 15th of the month must be paid by the 1st of the following month. All hours worked from the 16th to the end of the month must be paid by the 15th of the following month.

I’m a bartender, and my employer deducts the cost of broken glassware from my paycheck. Can he do that?

If these deductions reduce your pay below the minimum wage, your employer is guilty of a minimum wage violation. If you believe these deductions are unfair or fraudulent, you may want to consult an employment attorney. 

My son is 15 and works in a fast-food restaurant. He is not given a break during his 8-hour shift. Is that lawful?  

This is a violation of Ohio’s rules. An employer must give minors a 30-minute break after working five consecutive hours. Employers must also comply with a number of other restrictions in the employment of minors, including the total number of hours they may work, and when they may work during the school day and school year. Ohio Rev. Code Chapter 149

How do I file a wage/hour or labor standards claim in Ohio?

The Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Labor and Worker Safety, Wage and Hour Bureau handles wage and hour complaints. You can get started by using this form for filing a minimum wage complaint.

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