NORTH CHARLESTON, SC – During the pandemic, commercial cleaning workers remain a lifeline to businesses, keeping employees, customers and others safe. These workers risk coronavirus exposure in return for the wages they need to care for themselves and their families.
Ensuring that workers like these are paid all of the wages they legally earn is the job of the U.S. Department of Labor and its Wage and Hour Division. A recent investigation at Quality Touch Janitorial Service Inc. has recovered $20,849 in back wages for 31 workers after the division found the North Charleston employer violated the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Investigators determined that instead of tracking the number of hours employees worked each workweek and paying overtime when they worked beyond 40, Quality Touch tracked and paid overtime after employees worked 86.67 hours in a semi-monthly pay period. The FLSA requires employers to pay overtime for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. The division also found the cleaning company failed to include certain hazard and specialty cleaning pay in workers’ regular rates of pay when calculating overtime rates. Excluding those amounts resulted in the employer paying overtime at rates lower than those required by law.
“Employers are welcome to establish any pay period they choose, but regardless of whether they decide to pay weekly, bi-weekly, twice a month, or on some other schedule, they still must track workers’ hours each week to determine when overtime is due,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Jamie Benefiel in Columbia, South Carolina. “The pandemic has made our work to ensure essential workers take home every cent of their hard-earned wages and that employers understand their responsibilities vitally important. We encourage anyone with questions to reach out to us for confidential assistance.”
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, and its search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.