COVID-19 and Wage Issues

Posted on January 10, 2022

Covid-19 has drastically changed how employees work in the United States.  It is important to know how these changes could impact your pay to make sure you receive all that you have earned.

Work from Home

Many employees throughout the country have started working from home for the first time.  As a result, many workers find themselves working at odd hours or working even more than they might when they are sitting at their desk at the office.  Are you checking your emails late at night?  Is your boss calling you after hours?  Are you working more than ever?

Working from home frequently causes employees to perform duties off the clock.  Particularly if you are an hourly employee, you should be paid for all the time you are required to work.  That includes those late night emails or “quick responses” that you send after you are clocked out.  That includes the time you are required to monitor your cell phone or stay near your laptop, if you are not free to complete personal tasks when you are doing so.

Federal law really is pretty straightforward on this topic.  If you are actually working, you should get compensated for that time.  If your employer is requiring you to work off the clock, even from home, know that you could pursue a claim for unpaid wages and may even be entitled to double the wages you are owed and have your attorneys’ fees paid for by your employer.

Nursing Home Employees

The essential work performed by caregivers throughout the pandemic is heroic.  Caregivers often must work until they are relieved from duty because they cannot just leave their patients unattended.  If you are required to work off the clock, you should be paid for that time.  It is common for nursing homes to violate federal law by failing to pay caregivers all of the overtime they are due.  If you are working more than 40 hours a week as a caregiver, regardless of whether you are clocked in, federal law requires that you get paid for that time.  You could pursue a claim for unpaid wages and may be entitled to double the wages you are owed plus having your attorneys’ fees paid for by your employer.  Your work is critical during these unprecedented times, and you deserve to be paid all that you are owed.

Hazard Pay and Overtime

Many essential workers started receiving hazard pay as an incentive to keep working in critical roles such as healthcare or grocery stores during the pandemic.  If you work overtime and receive hazard pay, the hazard pay rate must be factored into your overtime rate.  Many employers are mistakenly paying employees based on their regular hourly rates, without accounting for the hazard pay they have earned when calculating overtime.  You could pursue a claim for unpaid wages and may be entitled to double the wages you are owed plus having your attorneys’ fees paid for by your employer.

If you have questions about your pay, please contact one of our attorneys who devote their practice to recovering unpaid wages to learn more about your rights.