Are employers required by law to pay more for overtime?
July 30, 2018 | Commercial Litigation & Class Actions
In the shortest answer possible, Yes.
At length, The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the federal law which requires employers to pay one and a half times your normal hourly wage for all overtime hours. Your state may have overtime laws, as well. If your employer fails to pay you overtime wages for all overtime you work, you may be entitled to receive compensation through a wage and hour claim. “The federal overtime provisions are contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Unless exempt, employees covered by the Act must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek at a rate not less than time and one-half their regular rates of pay. There is no limit in the Act on the number of hours employees aged 16 and older may work in any workweek. The Act does not require overtime pay for work on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, or regular days of rest, unless overtime is worked on such days” (USDOL).
What is overtime?
As defined by federal law, for the vast majorities of employees, overtime hours are defined as any hours that are worked over the standard 40 hours that are considered to be full time employment in a given workweek. A workweek consists of seven consecutive days. So if you are paid every week and work from Monday to Friday and clear 45 hours in one week, your employer is responsible for paying you 5 hours worth of overtime pay for that week.
What if I am on a two week pay cycle?
Overtime is required to be calculated based on a workweek the normal period of time covered in one work week. Your pay cycle does not affect this. Whether your work week runs from Monday to Friday or Tuesday to Sunday, the overtime hours are counted per work week, no matter how often you are actually paid. For instance, if you get paid every two weeks and you end up working 50 hours the first week to cover shifts for coworkers who were out, and then you end up working only five hours next week, you have still racked up 10 hours in overtime pay that your employer is legally obligated to pay you for. The FLSA “applies on a workweek basis. An employee’s workweek is a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours — seven consecutive 24-hour periods. It need not coincide with the calendar week, but may begin on any day and at any hour of the day. Different workweeks may be established for different employees or groups of employees. Averaging of hours over two or more weeks is not permitted. Normally, overtime pay earned in a particular workweek must be paid on the regular pay day for the pay period in which the wages were earned” (USDOL).
Is everyone entitled to overtime?
Most employees are entitled to overtime. Overtime exemptions do exist for certain types of work and employment and they are based on your actual job duties, not your job title. Additionally, the rules for qualifying for exempted hours are very strict, and your employer must prove beyond doubt that your job duties clearly fall into one of the exempted categories in order to deny you overtime pay.
If I am paid a salary am I exempt from overtime pay?
Many people mistakenly believe that if they are hired for a salary position that they give up their rights to overtime pay. This often is not the case and some employers will use this misconception to get more hours out of their employees without paying them overtime. Some salaried positions are exempt, but as mentioned above they must meet the specific regulations and exact qualifications to be allowed for overtime pay exemption. Your job duties are what plays the biggest role in determining exemption not so much how you are paid or what your work status is labeled as on the payroll.
Can my employer withhold overtime because I didn’t clear it with him first?
Again, this is a common misconception many employees have and thousands of workers very years give up overtime pay they are owed because they believe they have to notify their employer before they exceed their stnadard hours. This is not the case at all. In fact, your employer is responsible for keeping track of and controlling your hours. They are supposed to be monitoring daily log in and log out of their employees and monitor where you are at with your hours before assigning you work that could push you into overtime hours. Employers are required to pay for overtime so long as the work was done on the clock and was part of your regular work- if you can prov you worked the overtime hours as part of your normal work routine for the week and was indeed on the clock, then your employer will be obligated to pay for the overtime.
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