Filing a Wage and Hour Claim - Rhode Island

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Does Rhode Island have overtime laws that are different from federal law?

Like federal law, Rhode Island law requires that employees be paid one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in any given workweek. Anyone who is not covered by the minimum wage requirements (see below) is not covered by the overtime requirements. 

In addition, the following employees who are covered by the minimum wage requirements are not covered by the overtime requirement:

Does Rhode Island have a minimum wage that is different from federal law?

Effective January 1, 2018, the minimum wage in Rhode Island is $10.10 per hour, which is higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Employers can, however, use tips and gratuities to reduce the minimum wage required to $3.89 per hour.

Full-time students under 19 working for nonprofit religious, educational, library, or community service organizations may be paid 90% of the minimum wage (currently $9.09 per hour). Employees under the age of 16 who do not work more than 24 hours per week may be paid 75% of the minimum wage (currently $7.58 per hour).

The following employees are not covered by Rhode Island's minimum wage law:

 

Do any cities or counties in Rhode Island have a minimum wage that is different from state or federal law?

No. In 2014, Rhode Island passed a law that stops any cities or counties in the state from passing their own minimum wage laws. Therefore, the state minimum wage applies to all municipalities.

Does Rhode Island have meal and rest break requirements, unlike federal law?

All employees have a right to a 20-minute break for a meal for a six-hour shift, and a 30-minute meal break for an eight-hour shift. Employers do not have to pay employees while they are on these breaks. This doesn’t apply to health care employees, or employers with less than three people on shift.

How do I file a wage/hour or labor standards claim in Rhode Island?

If your employer owes you wages, you can file a complaint with the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training Division of Labor Standards. Before submitting the form, however, you must formally ask your employer for the wages (s)he owes you. The Department will attempt to help resolve the situation, and if this is unsuccessful may bring a complaint in court on your behalf. If the court case is successful, the court may award you whatever wages you are owed as well as any other benefits you are owed; in some circumstances, the court may also award that you be reinstated at your job.

What are my time deadlines?

Do not delay in contacting the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training. There are strict time deadlines in which charges of wage-and-hour violations must be filed. In order for the Department to act on your behalf, you must file your claim within three years. However, as you might have other legal claims with shorter deadlines, do not wait to file your claim until your time limit is close to expiring. It may be helpful to consult with an attorney prior to filing your claim, but it is not necessary to have an attorney to file your claim with the Department.

How can I or my attorney pursue a claim in court in Rhode Island?

Instead of filing a claim with the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, you may file a claim in court to collect your unpaid wages. You must nonetheless at least inform the Department of the violation. There is a one-year statute of limitations for such a claim. The court may order that you be reinstated in your job and may order your employer pay you back wages and benefits owed. The court may also require your employer to pay your litigation costs.

 

State Labor Agency

Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training
Center General Complex
1511 Pontiac Ave.
Cranston, RI 02920
Phone: (401) 462-8550
Fax: (401) 462-8528 TTY via RI Relay: 711

Email: dlt.laborstandards@dlt.ri.gov
Web: http://www.dlt.ri.gov/

 

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