Construction Wage Laws

colorado mountainsIn the particularly competitive construction industry, many employers shortchange employees in an attempt to bolster narrow profit margins. Often, construction work is contracted to smaller subcontractors who must compete against numerous other contractors to win bids. As a result, they face an intense pressure to lower the cost of their services, often at the expense of worker wages. As a result, thousands of workers in this industry have had and are having their wages stolen by their employer. The top wage violations in the construction industry are:

  • Failing to pay construction workers overtime for all hours worked in excess of 12 per day or 40 per week. Even salaried workers usually are entitled to overtime pay. It is illegal to pay overtime by banking it for “comp time”. Also, hours worked in multiple job classifications must be combined for overtime purposes.
  • Treating workers as independent contractors to avoid the cost of overtime, insurance and payroll taxes. Very few workers in this industry truly qualify as independent contractors.
  • “Shaving” or under-reporting worked hours to avoid paying for those hours. Often this takes the form of automatic deductions for meal/rest breaks that never were taken or that were less than thirty minutes of uninterrupted time.
  • Not paying workers for certain tasks performed before, during or after their regular shift such as driving to the job (or between jobs), waiting time (rain delays and downtime), employee meetings, training programs, putting on, taking off, cleaning or maintaining equipment or gear and paperwork. Often employers illegally claim that this work is “off the clock”.
  • Paying per diem instead of wages to avoid overtime pay.
  • Paying a flat daily or job rate without consideration of the number of hours worked and the requirement to pay overtime.
  • Failing to provide meal and rest breaks.

If your employer is violating the construction overtime pay laws, you (and other employees) may be entitled to thousands of dollars of back pay. Please contact us for a free and confidential case evaluation or simply to learn more about construction workers and overtime pay laws.