Criminal Justice Essay


Question:

Write a word paper to determine whether compensation and overtime pay applies to exempt and nonexempt security personnel in your state.
Discuss the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provisions.
Determine which provisions might apply or not apply to security personnel.
Provide examples where security personnel could be considered exempt and non-exempt from FLSA.
Format your paper consistent with APA guidelines.


Answer:

Compensation and Overtime Pay

A country’s workforce plays a monumental role in the process of development both in the states and at the federal level. This means that each state should put in place measures that protect and safeguard the rights of the employees. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 is among the laws that have been enacted by the US Congress with the aim of ensuring that employees get value for their job and are not oppressed. This paper discusses the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and seeks to determine whether compensation and overtime applies to exempt and nonexempt security personnel in the state of Texas.

Provisions of the FSLA

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), according to the United States Department of Labor (2015), is a law that establishes overpay time, record keeping, youth employment and minimum wage standards that affect employees in both the public (local, state and federal governments) and private sectors. It is applied in all states and administered by the Wage and Hour Division which operates within the Department of Labor. FLSA provides that certain employees are not covered by the Act. It further requires employers to comply with state wage and hour laws in case a worker is not covered by its provisions.

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Employees are either considered to be exempt or nonexempt. Unlike nonexempt employees, exempt employees do not qualify for overtime protections. For instance, employees engaged in delivery of newspapers, fishing operations, recreational establishments, small farms or foreign vessels and highly compensated employees are considered exempt from all FLSA provisions. Others such as truck drivers, farm workers and salespersons are exempted from FLSA overtime coverage.

FLSA provides for a federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Texas has a law that stipulates the adoption of this same minimum wage. The law applies regardless of whether the worker is paid on a salary or hourly basis. Under FLSA, any agreement between an employer and the worker that overtime and minimum wage will not be paid is unenforceable and void. The Act also posits that men and women performing the same job with the same level of responsibility, experience, skills and qualification must be paid the same amount of salary or wage. In addition, FLSA has child labor provisions that seek to protect educational opportunities for children and youths. It provides that children below 14 years may not work for an employer. The law also provides that children should not work during school hours or in hazardous occupations. However, it does not obliged employers to provide breaks such as coffee breaks, smoking breaks or breast feeding breaks, holiday pays, raises and pensions.

Most jobs in Texas are governed by the FSLA. However, a few are not governed by it due to statutory requirements. For instance, employees working in movie theaters and farms are not covered by the Act’s overtime rules. Similarly, those working in the transport sector such as truck drivers and railroad workers are excluded from FLSA’s coverage since they are governed by other federal labor laws. Workers whose jobs fall under the coverage of the FLSA can be either exempt or nonexempt. The difference is that nonexempt employees receive overtime pay while their exempt counterparts do not. According to standard practice, the FSLA may be supplemented, but not weakened, by state laws. For example, the state of Texas has enacted the Texas Payday Law, Texas Minimum Wage Act and the Texas Labor Code, all of which supplement the Fair Labor Standards Act in protecting the rights of employees. As such, they are protected from possible violations such as retaliation, wrongful termination, employment contracts as well as discrimination.

FSLA’s Provisions to Security Personnel in Texas

Security personnel play a crucial role in protecting an organization’s assets from a wide array of hazards and risks such as criminal activity, waste, and damage adopting preventive measures. Unfortunately, the laws of the state of Texas do not provide for overtime compensation for security workers (WorkplaceFairness.org, 2016). However, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (2016), section 207(k) of the FLSA contains certain requirements regarding overtime hours for security personnel in correctional facilities, who are considered to be FLSA non-exempt. For instance, correctional officers and sergeants of correctional officers stand to benefit from these provisions.

Security personnel can be considered FLSA exempt or ineligible for overtime protections if they are salaried employees drawing salary fees of not less than $455 per week. As such, these employees are not paid on an hourly basis and draw a fixed amount of pay every week regardless of the number of hours they worked during the week. Similarly, security personnel who are considered to carry out relatively sophisticated work involving a good deal of discretion and judgment are also FLSA-exempted. For instance, if a security officer has the prime duty of running a department of the enterprise, oversees the work performance of two and above permanent workers and has the power to fire or hire other staff, he/she is exempted from FLSA.

Conclusion

Overall, the FLSA plays a crucial role in safeguarding the rights of employers and the educational opportunities for children and youths. Whereas most security personnel are FLSA exempt, FLSA contains certain provisions with regards to overtime hours for security personnel in correctional facilities considered to be FLSA non-exempt. So long as security personnel are not salaried up to a certain weekly pay and do not perform high-level duties, then they qualify for overtime.

 

References

Texas Department of Criminal Justice. (2016). Correctional Officer Overtime Accrual,             Payment, and Work Cycles. Austin, TX: Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

United States Department of Labor. (2015). Compliance Assistance- Wages and the Fair Labor      Standards Act (FLSA). Web.

WorkplaceFairness.org (2016). Filing a Wage and Hour Claim – Texas. Web.


 

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