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April 04, 2003
Mercedes to Pay Back Wages for Workers' Time Spent Changing Uniforms

The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division, and Mercedes-Benz announced the company has agreed to pay 240 workers at its Vance, Ala., plant $687,588 in back wages for the period Feb. 18, 2001 to Feb. 9, 2003.

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Mercedes is paying the back wages as a result of a self-audit it conducted after the Wage and Hour Division brought to the company's attention allegations that it had not properly paid paint department employees for required uniform changing time.

After recordkeeping and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act were explained to the company, Mercedes officials immediately agreed to full future compliance, according to Jack L. McKeon, acting regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division's southeastern region.

With guidance from the staff of the Wage and Hour Division's Birmingham office, the company conducted a self-audit to properly determine the extent of the liabilities that resulted from this underpayment.

"Mercedes Benz' management has been very forthright regarding these violations and has cooperated fully throughout the process. They agreed early in the process to work with the Wage and Hour Division to bring this matter to resolution," says McKeon. "A cooperative effort like this ensures timely payment of back wages to employees and compliance for the company in the future."

The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that all covered employees be paid at least the minimum wage for all hours worked, currently $5.15 per hour. It further requires the payment of overtime-premium pay, at time and one-half the employee's regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of forty hours per work week.


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