Some local businesses break wage law in paying teen employees

We send our children to school for 12 years, and in their 12th year, they are allowed to do a work program. Sounds good. How much do they teach in this work program, or do they just get rid of them for the remainder of the day? Let me tell you what they don’t teach our kids before they go into the workforce.

1. The FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) does not allow uniforms, or other items which are considered to be primarily for the benefit or convenience of the employer to be included as wages. This means that if you earn minimum wages of $7.25 an hour, your employer cannot charge your for your uniform. This also means that if you make more that minimum wage, they cannot charge you to make you fall below minimum wage. Nor can this cost be charged against your overtime.

2. Employers can not deduct money from your paycheck for your register being short or for a walkout that does not pay. Employers can write you up, scold you, fire you, but they cannot take your money. An employer cannot avoid FLSA minimum wage and overtime requirements by having the employee reimburse the employer in cash in lieu of deducting the cost from the employee’s wages.

My son, while still a student, brought home a paycheck from a local fast food joint, for $0.17. I was unaware of the above info. It wasn’t until my future daughter-in-law (worked for the same place) had the same thing happen to her. In addition, the business tried to deduct the cost of an order being shorted by the customer.

I started researching, found this info and contacted their corporate office to advise them this was not legal. They in turn did some research and reimbursed all of their employees for uniforms and register shortages, if applicable. Not only did they reimburse present staff, but sent letters to past staff for reimbursement.

In these hard times we all need our jobs, but at the same time we can’t afford for our employers to take our paychecks. These employers need to be busted.

You can verify this info at www.wagehour.dol.gov along with more very valuable info. Let’s educate our children and ourselves and stop these places from taking money that does not belong to them.

Angela Parker

Fayetteville, Ga.

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