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Five Things You Need to Know About Commissioned Employees

A surprising number of people across the United States are commissioned employees, people who are paid in part based on their sales or other metrics of job performance. While these jobs can be potentially lucrative for some, they also carry their own potential risks for exploitation by employers. Here are five things you need to know about commissioned employees:

 

  • Commissioned employees are still entitled to the minimum wage

    • While it is legal to have someone paid based on commissions, commissioned employees are still entitled to make the minimum wage. This means that payment based purely on commissions is illegal. Instead, commissions are meant to be added on top of the base level wages that a worker would normally earn as part of their work.

  • Many commissioned employees are entitled to overtime

    • Many commissioned employees who work overtime are entitled to one-and-a-half times their normal wages, just as regular employees are. Whether they qualify for overtime is dependent on whether they are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act. If they qualify under the criteria set by that law, they must be paid overtime hours anytime they work more than eight hours in a day or more than forty hours in a week.

  • Commissions should be paid promptly

    • Commissioned employees are entitled to prompt payment of any earned commissions by their employer. Some employers will try to delay these commissions, however, or withhold them on some other condition. However, an employee’s commissions are a part of their employment compensation, and they are legally entitled to receive them as they would their regular wages.

  • Commissioned employees must be paid any earned commissions if they lose their job

    • When an employee is laid off from their job, they are entitled to receive any earned commissions they have yet to be paid. This is true even if they were fired for cause, or if the employer claims some kind of misconduct as part of their dismissal. That does not stop some employers from trying to save money by refusing to pay commissions to an employee that was recently let go, however.

  • Commissioned employees are protected by labor laws

    • Commissioned employees are protected by the various labor laws that protect other types of employees. This includes protections against discrimination, harassment, and unsafe working conditions, among other factors. If you work on commission and have experienced any of these issues, you should speak to a lawyer with experience handling labor and employment law cases.


Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer with more than 41 years’ experience handling the many aspects of employment law. His new book, “Fired!: Protect Your Rights & FIGHT BACK If You’re Terminated, Laid Off, Downsized, Restructured, Forced to Resign or Quit,” is available in hardback, and contains valuable advice on dealing with employment and labor law issues. To purchase the book, feel free to contact Steven Sack at 917-371-8000 or visit the website at legalstratpub.com. To inquire about a legal matter, please feel free to contact attorney Steven Sack at 917-371-8000 or stevensackatty@hotmail.com.

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