In 2021, the minimum wage in the State of Ohio is $8.80 an hour for businesses that gross $323,000 or more annually. For smaller businesses, the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour applies. Tipped employees can be paid $4.40 an hour so long as their wages plus tips equal or surpass the minimum wage. Overtime kicks in at time-and-a-half after working 40 hours in a workweek.
Wage and hour laws are enforced by the Bureau of Wage & Hour Administration of the Ohio Department of Commerce. On the national level, wage and hour disputes are governed by the U.S. Department of Labor and its Wage and Hour Division (WHD).
If you believe your employer has been underpaying you or has otherwise violated Ohio’s wage and hour laws in or around Akron, or nearby in Canton, Hudson, Cleveland, or Lorain, contact the Law Offices of F. Benjamin Riek III. As a former employee of the Department of Labor, Attorney F. Benjamin Riek III knows employee rights and how to protect them through every administrative and legal means.
The pandemic has altered the employment landscape across the country with the implementation of more work-at-home and flexible schedules, but employers are still required to observe minimum wage and overtime laws.
That being said, Ohio is a fairly employer-friendly state. Unlike some other states, Ohio does not allow municipalities or counties to establish their own minimum wages. Ohio Code 4111.02 states: “No political subdivision shall establish a minimum wage rate different from the wage rate required under this section.”
Most wage and hour claims in the state of Ohio boil down to whether the minimum wage and overtime rules are followed. There are no laws governing break periods, holidays, vacations, or sick time off.
Ohio allows for sub-minimum wages in addition to exemptions for employees in bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacities, including computer professionals and outside sales representatives. Those exempted in any capacity must still earn at least the minimum wage, but they would normally be paid through salaries or commissions rather than by punching a time clock.
As for sub-minimum wage exemptions, the state’s authorized minimum wage poster states:
“To prevent the curtailment of opportunities for employment and avoid undue hardship to individuals whose earning capacity is affected or impaired by physical or mental deficiencies or injuries, a sub-minimum wage may be paid, as provided in the rules and regulations set forth by the Director of the Ohio Department of Commerce.”
Minimum wage and overtime rules in Ohio are established by the Department of Commerce. On the federal level, the minimum wage is enacted by Congress, which last raised the minimum to $7.25 an hour in 2009.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 empowers the Department of Labor to enforce wage and hour laws on the federal level, but it also allows states to set their own standards so long as they don’t undercut the prevailing federal mandates.
The U.S. Department of Labor and Ohio’s Bureau of Wage & Hour Administration both field complaints of wage and hour violations. The statute of limitations in Ohio is two years to file a claim. The federal statute is the same except for willful violations, for which the statute of limitations rises to three years.
Under federal law, you can collect any unpaid minimum wage or overtime wages, plus liquidated damages of an equal amount, if you prevail in your claim. Under Ohio law, you can collect only the unpaid portion, not liquidated damages.
Filing a wage and hour violations claim can be cumbersome and time-consuming. You need the help of an attorney experienced in wage theft claims to help you file your claim and overcome the bureaucratic hurdles that inevitably arise. Attorney F. Benjamin Riek III is knowledgeable about all applicable wage and hour laws as well as the claims process. If you feel you’ve been victimized by wage theft in or around Akron, Ohio, contact him immediately.