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Questions: Laid Off Unpaid Benefits in Missouri

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  • Questions: Laid Off Unpaid Benefits in Missouri

    I have worked since January 1, 2007, as contract labor for a media outlet WITH a signed agreement indicating that I would receive all regular employee benefits.

    Since that time, my one-year anniversary has passed making me eligible for one week paid vacation. Also, employer at that time (1st of employer) made a change putting everyone (myself included) on hourly instead of what had been an agreed "compensation rate."

    Now I find myself laid-off due to staff reductions and budgetary concerns with a letter from the company owner verifying it. My questions are:

    1) Am I entitled to that vacation pay since I was laid off without using it?
    2) Am I also entitled to accrued vacation time for the current earning year?
    3) Am I still considered an employee and entitled to agreed benefits since I
    was laid off and not fired?
    4) Am I entitled to hourly wage and, perhaps, overtime for any time put in
    above and beyond the 40 hour week since I clocked in and out everyday?
    5) And, referring to #4, would that be straight time rate or time and a half
    for overtime?

    Thank you for any advice!

  • #2
    1.) No. Missouri law does not require the pay out of unused vacation at termination.
    2.) No. No state requires that you receive the vacation that you would have earned had you not quit/been laid off/been fired.
    3.) Most employers use the term, laid off, incorrectly. Most employers use the term, laid off, to mean that your termination was not for cause; i.e., you were not a poor performer and you were not let go for misconduct. But unless there is a very real probability that you will be called back to work, you were fired, not laid off, no matter what language they used.
    4.) Assuming that by contract labor you mean an IC, only if your contract so specifies
    5.) See 4.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


    • #3
      And if you weren't an IC, but an employee, whether you would be entitled to overtime at all depends on what your job duties were and how they were paying you. I don't know what you mean by "compensation rate".
      Last edited by Pattymd; 11-16-2007, 11:39 PM.
      I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


      • #4
        "Compensation rate" was the terminology we used to describe my salary earned as I-C. We agreed for me to change over to I-C from employee for tax benefits (i.e. me taking care of my own deductions). The owner then officially changed all personnel over to hourly. That was one of my main questions...although I was "officially" an I-C, we both signed an agreement indicating that I would still be entitled to, and receive, all regular employee benefits. By signing that document and being considered hourly labor, would I be entitled to payment for anything above and beyond 40 hours?

        Note: I did not, per se, have a written contract OTHER than the agreement that I would be paid as an I-C but still entitled to all regular employee benefits. Would that document serve as contract necessary to force the issue of, at least, back pay for verifiable hours recorded on the timeclock?

        I know I'm out on the vacation pay!

        Thanks again.


        • #5
          You'll have to have the contract reviewed by an attorney. But, I'm surprised that the benefits would ever be included, as receiving benefits that are for employees is one of the more primary factors in determining whether you were actually an employee (in IC clothing).
          I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


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