View Full Version : Piecework pay with taxes taken out - does minimum wage apply?

07-26-2004, 08:38 AM
I live in FL but work over the internet for a nationwide company with offices in Chicago, Atlanta, etc. I do QC (quality control), and we get paid by the document. Up until recently, have been making decent money. The job I have is supposed to bring in about 15 dollars per hour. Lately however, we have been asked to work on something called names in text, where we get 5 cents per page to code the names and 3 cents per page to qc them. So if a document has 300 pages, and we have to enter every personal and company name we find on each page, no limit. Sunday morning I worked on a 5 document batch with 5 pages, at 15 cents per page, plus 3 cents for names in text. It was 5 pages of references to an article, each page with 2 columns of paragraphs of names. There were probably 150 names on each page that had to be entered and the coder did not do it properly so I had to do it, it took 3 hours and I made 90 cents. If I wasn't upset enough about that, this morning we received an email telling us that each of those 150 names on each page had to be entered TWICE, once for the referenced work, and once with the publication the reference was in.

ie. John Malloy who wrote an article in Journal of Medicine that was referenced in the article in Psychology Today would be entered both:
Malloy, John^Journal of Medicine and Malloy, John^Psychology Today.

So that three hours I spent for 90 cents should have been 6 hours!!!

If we were private subcontractors I know the piecework rate would be legal, but since they are taking out Federal income taxes and medicare, are they bound by the minimum wage laws at all?

07-26-2004, 09:19 AM
If we were private subcontractors I know the piecework rate would be legal, but since they are taking out Federal income taxes and medicare, are they bound by the minimum wage laws at all?

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), industrial homework (also called "piecework") means the production by any covered person in a home, apartment, or room in a residential establishment, of goods for an employer who permits or authorizes such production, regardless of the source (whether obtained from an employer or elsewhere) of the materials used by the homeworker in producing these items.

All individually covered homework is subject to the FLSA's minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping requirements. Employers must provide workers with handbooks to record time, expenses, and pay information.
On another note, however:

Even when there is no enterprise coverage, employees are protected by the FLSA if their work regularly involves them in commerce between States ("interstate commerce"). In its own words, the law covers individual workers who are "engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce."

Examples of employees who are involved in interstate commerce include those who: produce goods (such as a worker assembling components in a factory or a secretary typing letters in an office) that will be sent out of state, regularly make telephone calls to persons located in other States, handle records of interstate transactions, travel to other States on their jobs, and do janitorial work in buildings where goods are produced for shipment outside the State.

Also, domestic service workers (such as housekeepers, full-time babysitters, and cooks) are normally covered by the law.

Where to Obtain Additional Information

This information and is not to be considered in the same light as official statements of position contained in the regulations.

For additional information, visit the Wage-Hour website: http://www.wagehour.dol.gov and/or call the Wage-Hour toll-free information and helpline, available 8am to 5pm, 1-866-4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243).


07-26-2004, 12:51 PM
Thank you for your answer. I went to the website and it looks as though my employer is covered under this law. How would I find out without jeopardizing my job? My company does get government contracts.

I appreciate your advice.

07-26-2004, 12:58 PM
Have you tried contacting the toll free number and see if you can find out without divulging any personal info or actually filing the complaint?

Also, if you feel comforatble, try talking to the employer.

I realize today's job market is causing many people to work for less than they are used to and under conditions they are not used to or trained for, and I wish you the best.

Let me know how it turns out.

07-26-2004, 06:22 PM
You mentioned that your employer is a government contractor. Is the work that you are doing under a federal contract? If so, your employer must pay the prevailing wage rate, as per the Service Contract Act. Let us know if we can provide additional information to you.

07-26-2004, 06:27 PM
I just saw on their website that they do govt contracts. I will call the 866 number tomorrow. Thanks.

08-01-2004, 05:56 AM
Keep in mind that the SCA (Service Contract Act) is only applicable to you if you are working on a government contract. Just because your employer has government contracts will not cover you if you are working on a private contract.

Let us know if you have additional questions.

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