For workers in certain jobs, their income includes “hazard pay.” Hazard pay is additional income provided for completing jobs in physically distressing, dangerous, or uncomfortable circumstances. This can include doing arduous work in cramped spaces, enduring extreme temperatures, or participating in jobs that have a high risk for injury or death. It may also compensate for working in a dangerous location, such as a nation known for violent activity.
Jobs that typically provide hazard pay include:
- Coal miners
- Oil well drillers
- Commercial divers
- Bomb squad experts
- Workers in unstable nations
Believe it or not, hazard pay is not actually federally-mandated. Instead, it is a result of economic demand. These jobs would likely not find qualified candidates without offering some kind of pay incentive that compensates for dangerous circumstances. The Department of Labor does not require an employer to provide it, but it does have one stipulation regarding its usage.
Hazard pay also applies to the entire workday, even if a worker only spent one hour completing a hazardous duty. The Fair Labor Standards Act stipulates that workers who receive hazard pay must receive overtime wages that include hazard pay in the calculation. However, overtime for a given month usually can’t be calculated until the following month, when hazard pay is disbursed.
For example, if you made $1,500 base pay for a 50-hour workweek, and a month later received $1,000 in hazard pay, you would need to include it in your overtime wages from several weeks earlier. In this case, $2,500 total pay for 50 hours equates to a regular rate of pay of $50 an hour. At 10 hours of overtime, that week alone would call for an additional $500 in back pay.
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If you are a California worker who faces exceptionally dangerous circumstances every day for work, you deserve to be paid the wages you are legally entitled to. More so than other workers, your work is costly to your emotional and physical state. When you are seeking to recover overtime wages from a current or former employer, let our wage-and-hour attorney help.
Alan Burton Newman has 30 years of experience recovering millions for his clients in overtime wages and back pay. He handles cases entirely over the phone or email, and typically recovers awards for clients within 90 days. Contact our firm today to get started on your case as soon as possible with our experienced employment law attorney.