Noncompliant gas stations better pump up pay

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in Human Resources,Overtime Labor Laws

New Jersey is one of two states in the country where motorists may not pump their own gas. Under the banner of “safety,” the restriction requires gas stations to maintain a cadre of full-service employees. (How have self-serve motorists elsewhere survived?)

Now the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has launched an investigation into whether those full-service pump jockeys are receiving their full pay. The DOL wants to know if attendants are receiving at least the minimum wage, as well as overtime pay for work over 40 hours in a week.

Also under scrutiny: whether gas station owners are maintaining proper records of the hours employees work.

A DOL statement alleges that many gas station owners pay a flat salary, no matter how many hours an employee works each week. But that’s legal only if a position is truly exempt under the Fair Labor Stand­ards Act (FLSA) and the hourly rate never falls below the minimum wage.

Unless, a gas station attendant holds a management position, he or she is probably not exempt under the FLSA.

Advice: All employers—gas stations or not—must maintain accurate records of the hours employees work. That’s critical for FLSA compliance as well as for figuring workers’ compensation benefits.

Periodically review your wage-and-hour paperwork to make sure your records are complete. Conduct regular pay audits to check whether nonexempt employees are receiving the overtime they are entitled to under the FLSA.

It’s far cheaper to resolve these issues in-house than to wait for the DOL to sort it out—and assess double damages.

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