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November 14, 2003
California Pillow Sewers Rest Easier with Back Pay
A California company has paid 11 Asian employees more than $33,000 after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division found that the company failed to pay their workers minimum wage and overtime in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

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An investigation determined Spencer Industries, Inc., a manufacturer of decorative pillows in South El Monte, California, paid employees a straight "piece rate" based on the number of pillows they completed. However, the piece rate resulted in an hourly wage that was less than $5.15 an hour, the minimum wage, according to the department. In addition, the piece rate pay system did not provide higher pay for overtime hours worked, according to the department. Investigators say that they found recordkeeping violations as well.

The FLSA requires employees be paid the federal minimum wage of $5.15 per hour for all hours worked, time-and-one-half their regular rate for hours worked over 40 per week, and that accurate time and payroll records are kept. The FLSA applies to both hourly and piece-rate work.

The investigation covered the period between March 11, 2001 and March 11, 2003 and the company cooperated during the investigation.


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