According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Department of Labor has ordered several military contractors to pay a total of $1,060,554 in back overtime wages to 865 Ft. Irwin employees. Ft. Irwin is a military training center located in the Mojave Desert.
The contractors were under investigation by the Department of Labor for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by not correctly paying workers for on-call time which resulted in overtime pay violations.
According to the Department of Labor, on-call time must be paid when conditions are restrictive enough or calls to duty frequent enough that workers cannot use that time for personal purposes. The back wages in this case were for overtime work done between October 2008 and October 2010. The contractors were also accused of not properly keeping records of hours worked by employees.
The contractors involved in the investigation were CALNET Inc. and two subcontractors, Acclaim Technical Services and McNeil Technologies. The companies provide language, intelligence and information technology services at Ft. Irwin.
The purpose of the Department of Labor investigation was to ensure that contractors and subcontractors hired by the U.S. military are held accountable to federal law in paying workers fairly for all hours worked.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the Fair Labor Standards Act, also called the Wages and Hours Bill, "establishes a minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments." The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 and workers must be paid a minimum of time-and-a-half for hours exceeding the 40-hour standard work week.
Source: Wall Street Journal, "Labor Department hits Army contractors for unpaid overtime," Marc Lifsher, 13 Jan 2011.