Applying FLSA Pay Rules To Irregular Work Schedules

In today's economy, not all work fits into a steady 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule. In fact, many occupations involve flexible and irregular work schedules where the hours vary significantly from week to week. Calculating proper minimum wage and overtime rates can be complex for employees who work irregular schedules. Moreover, many employers look for ways to reduce their costs related to irregular work to the detriment of the work force. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the courts set out specific rules for how many workers with odd schedules are to be paid.

Our aggressive and thorough approach to representing workers has garnered national respect in the legal community. Since 1987 our founding lawyer has devoted his time to fighting for the working class in Chicago and throughout Illinois. Irregular work hours can create complex disputes between employers and workers concerning pay. We provide employees with a strong voice in court when employers violate Illinois and federal wage and hour law.

Belo Plans Allow A More Predictable, Fixed Rate Paycheck With Highly Irregular Hours

The FLSA recognizes that some occupations require workers to report on an uneven basis from week to week. Most Illinois and federal wage and hours laws expect a fairly constant schedule. However, paychecks can vary substantially from week to week for workers with a widely varying schedule. The FLSA includes a long list of examples, including firemen, newspaper reporters, on-call servicemen, troubleshooters and similar occupations. The law allows employers to pay a fixed rate, or salary, from week to week when the circumstances fit specific rules under the law.

These unique salaries, or fixed-rate payment arrangements, are generally called Belo plans under the FLSA (named after a 20th Century U.S. Supreme Court decision). To qualify for a Belo plan, the job must include a regular schedule out of necessity, such that neither the worker nor the employer could anticipate the number of hours of work each week. In addition a valid Belo plan requires:

  • Significant variations in weekly hours each week, with hours falling substantially below and above the 40-hour threshold
  • The rate of pay must not violate applicable minimum wage laws, and must be expressly defined
  • The regular rate must also apply to hours worked and cannot include other forms of compensation
  • Employers must guarantee that premium overtime rates will be paid for hours worked in excess of 40 hours

The maximum number of hours that can be used to determine the amount of guaranteed compensation in the fixed rate is 60 hours in a single week — time-and-a-half premium overtime rates over and above the fixed pay must be paid for any additional time.

Belo Violations Require The Keen Analysis That Only Experience Can Provide

The formula is highly complex, and frequently leads to compensation disputes. Because Billhorn Law Firm is committed to providing full-service wage and hour representation, we have the experience and knowledge to thoroughly investigate Belo contract violations. We draw on 30 years of experience to ensure that our clients with irregular hours get the proper pay and back pay they are due under the law.

If you have an irregular schedule and believe your employer is not paying you lawful wages, call our accomplished FLSA litigation attorney at 312-445-9137 or 888-408-0401. You may also request a meeting using our short contact form. The initial consultation is free. After you receive your back compensation, the employer pays our fees. Traductor/intérprete disponible.