More than 500 Utah employers have returned a total of $1.5 million to 4,608 workers in the past fiscal year for violations of minimum wage or overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Loren Gilbert, Denver, regional administrator for the department's Wage and Hour Division, said the act protects low-wage workers from becoming victims of substandard wage and working conditions and protects the majority of employers from unfair competition by a small minority who don't maintain fair labor standards for their workers.In the division's six-state Rocky Mountain region, employers returned a total of $5.8 million to 15,077 workers. $2.5 million was returned in Colorado; $314,069 in Montana; $476,992 in North Dakota; $497,139 in South Dakota; and $406,152 in Wyoming.

Gilbert reminded employers that on April 1, the federal minimum wage will increase from $3.80 to $4.25 per hour along with an increase from 45 percent to 50 percent in the amount of tip credit that an employer can take for certain tipped employees.

Included in the FLSA amendments of 1989 is a training wage where, under certain conditions, employers can pay employees under the age of 20 a wage rate of at least 85 percent of the minimum but not less than $3.35 per hour for up to 90 days.

Gilbert said employers are prohibited from displacing their regular employees in order to hire employees eligible for the subminimum wage.