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Wage Considerations For 'Side' Work

If you are forming a business or already have an established business, you may have any number of questions about wage and hour laws. Federal and state governments have passed numerous laws aimed at protecting the compensation rights of workers. If you fail to pay workers proper wages or if you fail to honor certain restrictions on the hours that employees can be on-duty, you may face investigations, penalties and civil lawsuits.

It is generally a good idea to bring any specific question you have about wage and hour laws to your attorney. An experienced business attorney licensed in the state where your business is located will be able to guide you through the specific regulations which apply to your situation.

For example, if you run a restaurant you may insist that your servers do so-called “side work” before, during or after their serving shifts. There is nothing illegal about insisting that your servers do side work. However, you may run into trouble if you do not compensate your servers in a certain way during their side work hours.

If the side work that servers are required to complete takes a significant or excessive amount of time, you generally must pay them a rate that equals or exceeds the minimum wage in your state. Specifically, if a server spends roughly 20 percent of his or her time doing non-tipped side work, you will need to ensure that he or she is properly compensated for this time. Even if a server has made significant tips throughout his or her shift, if you fail to pay a proper rate during a period of significant side work, you may find yourself in hot water, legally speaking.

Source: Findlaw Enterprise, “Do You Have To Pay Minimum Wage For Side Work?” Le Trinh, April 2, 2015

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