11th Cir.: Employer’s Payment Of Wages 7-8 Days After Pay Period Ended Not FLSA Violation; No Liquidated Damages Due

Benavides v. Miami Atlanta Airfreight, Inc.

Plaintiffs sought liquidated damages for untimely payment of their wages under the FLSA.  The crux of Plaintiffs’ complaint was that Airfreight’s policy of paying its employees seven to eight days after the pay-period ended-without justification for the delay-violates the FLSA.

Section 206(b) of the FLSA provides that “[e]very employer shall pay to each of his employees … who in any work week is engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce … not less than the minimum wage rate….”29 U.S.C. § 206(b). Although the FLSA specifies no time within which wages must be paid, liquidated damages may be available if the employer fails to pay wages or overtime on the regular payment date. See Atlantic Co. v. Broughton, 146 F.2d 480, 482 (5th Cir.1945). And we will assume that a “regular payment date” may be so far distant from the pay period to which payment relates to state a violation of the FLSA minimum wage. But we are cited to no cases that have concluded that seven or eights days’ payment in arrears-the time between the end of the pay period and Airfreight’s regular payment date-is actionably unreasonable or untimely.  No requirement exists that wages be paid simultaneously with the end of the pay period. We see no support in the FLSA or in case law for Plaintiffs’ conflation of the end of the pay period and the regular pay date.

Olsen v. Superior Pontiac-GMC, Inc., 765 F.2d 1570 (11th Cir .1985), cited by Plaintiffs, is not on point. Olsen addressed whether commissions paid to car salesmen could be carried forward. Olsen concluded that the carry-forward-payment sequence was allowable only if the employee actually received the minimum wage for each pay period. The district court committed no error in granting summary judgment to Airfreight: Plaintiffs failed to show that Airfreight’s practice of paying wages seven to eight days after the wages accrued violates the FLSA.

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