Au Pairs across the nation recently obtained a huge victory in their fight to gain protection under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and various other laws. The U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado granted class certification in a case entitled Beltran v. InterExchange, Inc. – a ruling that allows over 91,000 au pairs to collectively proceed in one lawsuit and simultaneously bring claims for unpaid wages against their employers.
As previously detailed in our “Au Pairs Gaining FLSA Protection Terrifies Cultural Care, Inc.” post, au pairs currently receive a weekly stipend of $195.75 and are required to work up to 45 hours per week, which amounts to $4.35 per hour. The FLSA provides that employees must receive the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour and overtime pay of time-and-a-half for every hour worked over 40 in a workweek. Indeed, FLSA protection would amount to a 75% increase in wages for au pairs, increasing weekly wages from $195.75 to $344.38. Further, Au Pairs are eligible to receive back wages for each hour in which they were paid less than the federal minimum over the last 3 years. Some au pairs may also be entitled to additional back wages, at a higher minimum wage rate, if they live in states, such as New York, which provide greater protections than those available under the FLSA.
This Beltran decision has the potential to cause sweeping changes in the child care industry. In the immediate term, 91,000 au pairs have taken a major step towards receiving compensation for wages which were wrongfully withheld by their employers. In the long term, the Beltran decision sets a precedent that au pairs must be paid at least the minimum wage for all hours worked, which employers have been failing to do for years. Further, the ruling opens the door for other categories of employees who are paid flat rates that total less than the minimum wage to command higher wages and pursue their rights under the law.
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Faruqi & Faruqi focuses on complex civil litigation, including: securities, antitrust, employment, and consumer class actions. The firm is headquartered in New York, and maintains offices in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Georgia and California. Since its founding in 1995, Faruqi & Faruqi continues to serve as lead or co-lead counsel in high-profile cases that ultimately provide significant recoveries to investors, consumers and employees.
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About Patrick J. Collopy
Patrick J. Collopy is an Associate in Faruqi & Faruqi’s New York office and focuses his practice on employment law and wage and hour class action litigation.