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Wierd situation in Indiana Indiana

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  • Wierd situation in Indiana Indiana

    I work in an automotive shop (employs less than 10 employees) and the boss has just informed us on friday that on tuesday that we will be going from hourly wages to flat rate wages. Is this legal and if it is not where can I get the info? Shouldnt we recieve compensation of some sort (i.e. partial unemployment) for the money lost from going to flat rate? This shop right now is really slow and I and the other employees would barely get 15-20 hours flat rate. he is willing to give me a raise of $4, but that ain't going to be enough to even live on some weeks.

  • #2
    Short answer is that you have to paid (at least) minimum wage on a work week basis. Flat rate (piece work, flag rates, whatever dippy phrase people make up) can be legal but only to the extend that MW rules are not violated. In the following examples Bob will work exactly 40 hours. I am going to assume that Bob is working in a state which follows the federal MW rate of $7.25/hr. That is another way of saying that Bob must be paid (at least) $290/week. Bob has a flag rate of $25/flag. (Flags are a common auto repair method. Just think of it as piece work.)
    - Bob earns 4 flags ($100). Bob must be paid $290.
    - Bob earns 8 flags ($200). Bob must be paid $290.
    - Bob earns 12 flags ($300). Bob must be paid $300.
    - Bob earns 20 flags ($500). Bob must be paid $500.

    In all cases Bob works 40 hours, but is paid the greater of MW or flag rate (piece work). This is very black letter law. The employer has no leg to stand on in court.

    ------

    Overtime is legally strange. There is something called the Auto Dealer exception. Basically while all mechanics are subject to MW, mechanics at Auto Dealer are not legally eligible for the overtime premium, while the exact same mechanic doing the exact same work for a non-auto-dealer is eligible for the OT premium. The OT premium (if applicable) is calculated based on the "greater of MW or piece work" number used above.

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    Last point is that the legal definition is important. If you are hanging around the shop doing nothing it is important WHY you are hanging around. If it is because the boss told you to, it is paid time. If it is because you are hanging around in hopes of something turning up, but can leave if you want, that is not paid time.
    http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs22.pdf
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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    • #3
      Regarding UI, try filing. It works or it does not. The problem with filing is that you basically are saying (under oath) that you are busy looking for another job.
      "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
      Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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      • #4
        Thanks for the info!!
        Is it legal that he change this so soon after telling us? There also was no letter sent out it was all verbal...

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        • #5
          Yes, it is. Your state is not one of the few that requires a specific notice period.
          I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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          • #6
            Agree, as long as you are told before they make the change.
            Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

            Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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            • #7
              Agreed. Way back when before there was "labor law" (actual statutory law), there was (and still is) something called "common law". Under common law, all employment is "at will" and changes in compensation agreements go into effect basically instantly when discussed. If the employee continues work after being told of the changes, then the change is valid. Under common law, failure to notify means that the old compensation rates are applicable (until the employee finds out about the new rate). However notification under common law can be in any form. Common law actually looks a lot like a very simple form of contract law.

              As mentioned some states have actual labor law on this subject, and labor labor law will over ride common law where applicable. Common law is basically the "default" that occurs when there is no labor law. American common law goes back to the very original English colonies, and back to English common law before that.
              "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
              Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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