US law firm
& Ratinoff (KCR) believes unlicensed associates at Big Four firms have
been cheated out of their entitlements to overtime and other benefits under US
labour laws and is urging them to join in class action against the firms.
The US labour laws applied to accountants classify those who have obtained a
CPA license as ‘exempt’ from provisions which mandate overtime pay and meal and
rest periods. However, KCR claims the Big Four have ignored these statutes for
years and treated all their unlicensed associates as exempt, in stark contrast
to many smaller accounting firms who pay overtime to their unlicensed
KCR has estimated a typical associate who earns $US42,000 (?20,000) and works
about 250 hours of overtime a year may be entitled to about $US40,000 in
overtime pay over a five-year period. Add to this substantial penalties and
interest which would be imposed for ‘wilful failure to pay overtime’.
KCR has already filed a class action suit against
to recover overtime pay for its unlicensed associates. The case has been pending
for more than a year but an imminent decision is expected on whether the case
will be approved as class action. A successful verdict could potentially change
the way all the Big Four do business across the US.
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