Compliance Watch:
What are my rights as an hourly employee in Ohio?

April 11th 2024

In Ohio, every hourly worker contributes significantly to the overall employment sector. And understanding your rights is not just about ticking legal boxes. It’s about stepping into a world where you stand tall, empowered, and confident in your professional journey.

Each time you punch in and out, it’s not just about the hours and minutes; it’s a testament to your hard work, dedication, and the value you bring. Yet, as with every landscape that changes when you cross state lines, the employment scene in Ohio has its unique shades. 

You might occasionally find yourself asking questions like, “What exactly am I entitled as an hourly employee?” or “How do I stand up for my rights in Ohio without stepping on toes?”

Worry not. This article is crafted especially for you, the heartbeat of Ohio’s hourly workforce. Dive in as we unravel the intricacies of Ohio’s employment laws for hourly workers, ensuring you’re not only treated fairly but are also equipped to proactively shape your professional work experience in accordance with the legal frameworks and regulations of the Buckeye State.

This Article Covers

Defining an Hourly Employee in Ohio
Wage and Hour Regulations in Ohio
Rest Laws in Ohio
Deductions, Benefits, and Protections in Ohio
Termination of Employment in Ohio 

Defining an Hourly Employee in Ohio

What is Hourly Employment in Ohio?

Hourly employment refers to a work arrangement where employees are compensated based on the number of hours they work. Unlike salaried employees, who receive a consistent amount regardless of the time spent working, hourly workers are directly paid for each hour they clock.

In Ohio, this arrangement has its specifics. For starters, all hourly employees are entitled to earn at least the state-mandated minimum wage. This means that whether you’re working in a bustling cafe in Cleveland, a quiet bookstore in Columbus, or a factory in Cincinnati, your employer is obligated to pay you no less than this set amount for each dedicated hour of work.

It’s also worth noting the importance of timekeeping. Consider, for instance, a lifeguard at a waterpark. To ensure they’re paid correctly for the hours they’ve worked, they might use a timesheet or a digital system to log their start and end times. On the other hand, employers are tasked with the responsibility of verifying these records and ensuring they’re accurate.

Another distinguishing feature for hourly employees in Ohio is the potential for overtime. Let’s say you work at an amusement park in Sandusky. During the peak season (say June to August), you might be asked to work extra hours. If these hours exceed 40 in a week, under both Ohio and federal law, you’re entitled to overtime pay, which is 1.5 times your regular hourly rate.

What are the Key Differences Between Hourly and Salaried Employees in Ohio?

Here’s a comparison table highlighting the key differences between hourly and salaried employees in Ohio:

Aspect Hourly Employees Salaried Employees
Minimum Wage Laws Similar to salaried employees, the minimum wage rate is $10.45/hour The minimum wage rate is $10.45 per hour. This is greater than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Overtime Laws Eligible for overtime (1.5x pay) for hours beyond 40 in a workweek. Exempt under FLSA for certain roles; eligibility for overtime varies.
Severance Pay No, severance pay is not required in Ohio. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Ohio severance pay laws do not require severance pay for any employer. Same as hourly employees
Paid Sick Leave & FMLA An hourly employee may be eligible for unpaid leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) if they meet certain criteria. Same as hourly employees.
Paid Vacation Hourly employees may earn paid vacation based on hours worked and specific employer policies. Salaried employees’ pay may include paid vacation; however, specifics generally vary by employer. 

Paternity Leave

No guaranteed paid leave; terms depend on employer’s policies. May have unpaid provisions; duration varies by agreement.
Domestic Violence Leave No law in Ohio requires domestic violence leave for employees. At the federal level, such cases can fall under the FMLA, permitting up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.  Same as hourly employees.

To learn more about Ohio labor laws, you can access our guides on understanding your rights as a salaried employee in Ohio and discover how to run payroll in Ohio.

Wage and Hour Regulations in Ohio

What are the Maximum Weekly Working Hours in Ohio?

In the State of Ohio, there are no specific or standard state-wise regulations governing the maximum number of hours or days an individual can work in a week. However, it is mandated that all employees must receive compensation at or above the minimum wage for their hours worked. Additionally, for any hours worked beyond 40 hours in a week, employees are entitled to overtime pay at a rate of one and a half times (1.5 times) their regular hourly wage.

That said, specific industries or union agreements might have particular guidelines or rules. It’s always a good idea to check any applicable agreements, industry standards, or union contracts.

What is the Minimum Wage for Hourly Employees in Ohio?

The current prevailing minimum wage in Ohio is $10.45 per hour, surpassing the federal minimum of $7.25. This specific minimum wage applies to both full-time and part-time workers employed by businesses that make over $385,000 in yearly sales. Lower-earning businesses can pay the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. 

How Many Hours Qualify As Overtime and What is the Associated Pay in Ohio?

Ohio law specifies that if an employee works more than 40 hours within a workweek, employers must compensate them for the additional hours either by: allowing or mandating the employee to take compensatory time off at a rate of 1.5 hours for every overtime hour worked (relevant for government employees only) or providing payment for the overtime hours at a rate of 1.5 times.

Given that the standard minimum wage in Ohio is $10.45 per hour, the overtime minimum wage in Ohio is $15.68  per hour, equating to one and a half times (1.5) the basic wage rate.

It’s worth noting that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) doesn’t mandate extra pay for working on weekends, holidays, or regular days of rest, unless overtime is involved.

Rest Laws in Ohio

What are the Offered Meal and Rest Breaks for Hourly Employees in Ohio?

In Ohio State, there isn’t a statute that grants employees (adults aged 18 or older) a designated break for meals such as lunch (or even dinner), or the provision for short rest periods during the workday. If employers do allow short breaks, employees should be compensated for that particular time. Nonetheless, it’s not a requirement for employers to offer these breaks. 

What Laws Govern Time Off and Leaves for Hourly Employees in Ohio?

Numerous American companies, both large and small, extend leave privileges to their employees, allowing them to take time away from work for many personal and professional reasons. These leave privileges, whether fully compensated, partially compensated, or without pay, are generally established through a mutual arrangement between the employer and the employee, sometimes facilitated by an employee representative such as a union.

Ohio law does not mandate that private employers offer vacation, bereavement, or sick leave to their employees, whether it be paid or unpaid. If an employer decides to offer these benefits, they must adhere to the conditions outlined in their established policy or employment contract.

Deductions, Benefits, and Protections in Ohio

What are the Laws Regarding Pay Deductions for Hourly Employees in Ohio?

In the context of deductions from earnings, any deductions, apart from income taxes and court-ordered payments, necessitate employees’ written authorization. If you have previously agreed in writing to a specific deduction, this agreement holds legal validity and is binding for both you and your employer, in accordance with the state laws governing written contracts.

What are the Hourly Employees Entitlements Under Ohio State Law?

  • Minimum Wage: As of January 1, 2024, Ohio raised its minimum wage to $10.45 per hour for non-tipped employees. This minimum wage regulation is applicable to all businesses with annual gross receipts totaling $372,000 or higher per year in the state of Ohio.
  • Overtime: Ohio mandates that employers must compensate their employees with overtime pay, unless the employee qualifies for an exemption. Overtime pay is set at one and a half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for any hours worked beyond 40 hours in a given workweek.
  • Severance Pay: In Ohio, employers are not mandated to provide severance pay upon employee termination. However, if an employer has established a severance pay agreement through contracts or company policies, they are legally obligated to honor it. For specific details regarding severance pay, employees should consult their company’s established policies.
  • Paid Sick Leave: Ohio does not mandate that private employers offer sick leaves to their employees, whether it be paid or unpaid. If an employer decides to offer these benefits, they must adhere to the conditions outlined in their established policy or employment contract.
  • Vacation Time: Ohio does not mandate that employers offer vacation benefits, whether paid or unpaid, to their employees. However, if employers opt to provide such benefits, they must adhere to the conditions outlined in their established policy or employment contract.
  • Paid Maternity/ Paternity Leave: In Ohio, hourly employees don’t have a guaranteed right to paid maternity or paternity leave. The availability of such leave is subject to the discretion of the employer and might be outlined in the employment contract or company policies.
  • Domestic Violence: Ohio currently lacks legislation mandating domestic violence leave for employees. On the federal level, such situations may potentially be covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which allows for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for employees dealing with severe health conditions resulting from domestic or (sexual) violence.
  • Unemployment Benefits: Hourly employees in Ohio are entitled to unemployment benefits if they lose their jobs through no fault of their own. The duration and amount of benefits vary based on earnings and eligibility, and job search requirements must be met to continue receiving benefits. During the COVID-19 pandemic, federal programs provided additional support.

What are the Provided Hourly Employee Protections Under Ohio State Law?

Ohio employees benefit from legal protections provided by both Ohio state law and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). These regulations ensure that employees receive at least minimum wage, mandate overtime compensation for non-exempt employees, guarantee payment for all hours worked, and establish various other rules that employers must adhere to.

Termination of Employment in Ohio

What are the Termination Laws for Hourly Employees in Ohio?

Similar to the majority of states in the USA, Ohio follows the at-will employment doctrine. Under this framework, an employer has the authority to terminate an employee without any specific cause, whether it’s a valid reason, a poor reason, or no reason at all, as long as the termination doesn’t violate the law. Unless you have entered into a formal employment contract or are a member of a labor union, your employment in Ohio is generally considered at-will.

Should Severance Pay Be Provided to Hourly Employees in Ohio?

Ohio employers are not obligated to provide severance pay to employees upon termination. However, if an employer has established a severance pay arrangement through a contract or company policies, they are legally bound to honor that agreement. Employees seeking information on severance pay should consult their employee policies for specific guidance.

Final Thoughts

To wrap up, comprehending your rights as an hourly worker in Ohio is essential for confidently navigating the intricacies of today’s workplace. Having a solid grasp of the regulations that oversee your employment will ensure the preservation and safeguarding of your rights. The space of employment laws in Ohio is ever-changing, and staying current with the latest advancements will provide you with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions.

Important Cautionary Note

This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.