Beware of new Labor Department scrutiny. A newspaper report of pieceworkers in Silicon Valley getting paid below minimum wage has sparked a U.S. Department of Labor crackdown. The agency will be looking more closely at paying workers on a piece-rate basis— that is, by their rate of production rather than a set hourly wage. If you pay by piece rate, double-check your procedure. Federal law requires that pieceworkers must earn at least minimum wage, plus get applicable overtime pay (if agreed to before the work is performed). For advice on the law, call the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division at (202) 693-0051.
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