Wyoming Wage Law Explained
The Wyoming Labor Laws address many issues relating to the relationship between employer and employee, including the rules minimum wage, record keeping, final payment of wages, and child labor standards. There is no state law requiring payment of overtime in the private sector, with a few exceptions. Most businesses and employees are, however, covered by the Federal law that requires payment of overtime. Wyoming wage laws do provide for overtime payments and predetermined wage rates on public works projects as well as preference for Wyoming contractors and employees.
Our overtime rights lawyers represent Wyoming employees who have been subjected to workplace wage and hour violations and take cases on a contingent fee basis – no fee if no recovery of backpay. If you believe you’ve been deprived of the compensation to which you’re legally entitled, please contact the Lore Law Firm.
Understanding Wyoming Wage and Overtime laws
While Wyoming does have certain state labor laws that differ from the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the state law applies only in instances where it provides greater rights or protections than federal law. Whichever law (state or federal) is more favorable to the worker will apply. In most instances, however, federal law will cover issues involving overtime pay and minimum wage.
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Wyoming state minimum wage is $5.15 per hour and the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. When the federal minimum wage is higher than a state’s minimum wage, the higher federal pay rate will apply.
Wyoming’s Wage laws define a tipped employee as one who customarily and regularly receives $30 a month or more in tips. An employer is allowed to consider tips as part of wages. In no event can the employer pay less than $2.13 per hour to tipped employees. If $2.13 is paid, tips must bring such employees up to the applicable minimum wage. If not, the employer shall pay the difference to the tipped employee. Any tips that an employee or employees receive are the sole property of the employee or employees and are not payable in whole or in part to the employer or any other person. An employer may obtain voluntary agreements from employees to engage in tip pooling.
Wyoming state labor laws regarding the payment of overtime are largely consistent with the federal overtime laws. As most employers are covered by the FLSA, generally the FLSA will apply and requires employers to pay time and a-half for all hours worked over 40 per workweek, unless an employee is properly classified as exempt.
For minimum wage workers in Wyoming, the overtime pay rate amounts to $10.88 per hour (1.5 x $7.25).
Which Employees are Entitled to Overtime Pay
Most workers in Wyoming are entitled to overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours per week. In certain circumstances, however, there are exemptions.
Employees engaged in executive, administrative, or professional capacities (and paid at least $455 per week on a salary basis) are exempt from the overtime requirement. Note that new minimum salary requirements for these overtime exemptions take effect in January 2020 and increase the minimum salary threshold to $684 per week (or $35,568 annually). This change in federal law will also apply to most workers in Wyoming when making the determination of whether they are classified as exempt or non-exempt from the overtime pay laws.
Are You Owed Back Overtime Wages?
Misclassification of Independent Contractors
Misclassification occurs when a business treats its workers as independent contractors (or subcontractors) rather than employees to avoid legal obligations such as social security taxes, worker’s compensation, unemployment insurance and overtime pay.
While there are situations in which workers are legitimately running their own business and properly treated as independent contractors who are not entitled to receive overtime, employers are not allowed to mischaracterize employee roles to avoid paying overtime compensation.
Merely labeling a worker as an independent contractor, or even entering into a written agreement, is not enough to avoid the labor laws on overtime pay.
There are several factors to be considered in determining if a worker in Wyoming is an employee or independent contractor (a/k/a 1099 employee)
If properly classified as an independent contractor under Wyoming law, workers are typically eligible for only the specific compensation bargained for in a contract.
An employer doesn’t violate overtime laws by requiring employees to work overtime, (ie “mandatory overtime”), as long as they are properly compensated at the premium rate required by law.
For most employers, there is no timely payment requirement of regular wage payments. Employers engaged in the operation of any railroad, mine, refinery and work incidental to prospecting for, or the production of, oil and gas, or other factory, mill, or workshop, within the state of Wyoming, shall, on or before the first day of each month, pay the employees the wages earned by them during the first half of the preceding month ending with the fifteenth day thereof, and on or before the fifteenth day of each month pay the employees thereof the wages earned by them during the last half of the preceding month.
Wyoming wage payment law requires that an employer pay an employee who leaves or is discharged from employment in full for all wages or salary earned by the employee no later than the next regular pay day following the date of separation.
Wyoming wage rules allow some deductions, such as federal taxes, Social Security and health, welfare, insurance or other benefit plan. There are additional wage offset rules related to employers who wish to deduct for goods or services, loans, cash shortages, tools and equipment or other items. Employers may not deduct from wages because of employee negligence or criminal conduct without first obtaining a court judgment which identifies the dollar amount of damages suffered by the employer.
Pay Stubs / Pay Statements
Wyoming labor laws require an employer provide pay stubs to employees showing:
- the hours the employee worked,
- the wages earned by the employee, and
- the deductions made from that paycheck.
Meal and Rest Breaks
The Wyoming Wage and Hour Laws do not require that employers provide rest periods or meal periods to employees.
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act does not require that an employer give employees any mandatory rest breaks or meal breaks.
Vacation or Holiday leave
Wyoming doesn’t require employers to provide workers with paid or unpaid vacation leave. If an employer chooses to provide such benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.
An employer may implement a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy requiring employees to use their leave by a set date or lose it, so long as the he employer has provided the employee full opportunity to use earned vacation days or has not refused a request to use it.
Statute of limitations
Wyoming’s deadline for filing an overtime claim adheres to the FLSA, which requires those seeking to recover unpaid back overtime wages file a lawsuit within two years from the date of the employer’s wage violation. So, a lawsuit filed today would be able to seek recovery of back overtime for only the prior 2 (sometimes 3) years.
As an example, suppose you believe that your employer has failed to pay you proper overtime wages since January 1, 2016. Waiting until June 1, 2019, to file your lawsuit means you are only allowed to seek unpaid wages from June 1, 2017, to June 1, 2019.
The statute of limitations may be extended to three years if an employer’s violation of the FLSA was willful. An FLSA violation is deemed willful if the employer knew that its conduct was prohibited by the FLSA or showed reckless disregard.
Penalties for Violations
Under federal law, employers who fail to pay proper overtime wages may be liable for up to double the amount of unpaid back wages plus costs and attorney’s fees incurred by employees. These cases can be brought by overtime pay lawyers on a class or collective basis on behalf of all workers who were subjected to the same illegal pay practices.
Wyoming labor laws regarding wage payments permit employees to file a private civil suit for not being paid properly and in accordance with the time limit set by State law. If an employee prevails in a case to recover unpaid wages in court, the court may assess an additional 18% per annum interest on past due wages and order the employer to pay for the employee’s attorney fees and court costs.
Layoffs, Plant Closings and WARN Notices
The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) offers protection to Wyoming workers, their families and communities by requiring employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of covered plant closings and covered mass layoffs. This notice must be provided to either affected workers or their representatives (e.g., a labor union).
An employer who violates the WARN Act by failing to provide appropriate notice is liable to each employee for an amount up to 60 days back pay and benefits for the period of violation.
Lore Law Firm is On Your Side
At the Lore Law Firm, we represent salaried, hourly, and day-rate workers in an array of employment litigation matters, including unpaid overtime compensation claims in Wyoming. Our attorneys, and the Wyoming overtime law attorneys we associate with, are passionate about protecting the rights of workers and have helped recover millions of dollars in unpaid overtime wages for our clients.
Contact us for a free and confidential review of your situation