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When is your employer required to pay overtime?

On Behalf of | Oct 9, 2023 | Employment Law |

When you work, you deserve to receive fair pay for your time on the job. This includes receiving overtime pay when you put in extra time at work. What should you know about the requirement for overtime pay?

What is overtime pay?

In many cases, employers must pay workers at a higher rate for their work above 40 hours in one work week. Businesses define that work week, and businesses may change employees’ schedules to prevent overtime work from occurring.

If employees work more than 40 hours in one work week, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires the employer to pay them at one-and-one-half their normal hourly wage for the hours worked beyond 40.

What employees are exempt from overtime?

While FLSA regulations cover many employees, some workers are exempt from FLSA requirements for wages and overtime pay. These include:

  • Independent contractors, unless misclassified
  • Workers paid on a salary basis, unless misclassified or exempt status is waived
  • Employees at some seasonal or recreational locations, but definitely not all
  • Workers on small farms
  • Some sales employees who earn commissions
  • Motor carrier employees whose employer is covered by federal transportation law

Employers are usually not required to follow overtime regulations for these exempt employees. There are exceptions to this general rule. Some workers are “misclassified” as FLSA-exempt when, by law, they actually are entitled to overtime. For example, if an employer labels an employee as an “independent contractor” when in reality that employee does not have control over their work, or the opportunity for profit or loss, that employee may actually have been misclassified as an independent contractor.

The same can be true for salaried employees – they are often misclassified as except OR the employer waives the exemption by docking their pay or requiring them to make up time if they are out for a partial day for a doctor’s appointment, for example, or requires them to otherwise make-up time.

What if my employer does not pay you for overtime work?

Unfortunately, some employers do not pay employees fairly for their overtime work. They may misclassify workers as exempt from FLSA requirements. They may attempt to pay you at your regular hourly rate instead of overtime pay. They may even prevent you from reporting overtime or pressure you to work off the clock. All of these actions are unlawful and prevent you from receiving the pay you have earned.

If you are a non-exempt employee and your employer has not paid you fairly for the overtime work you have performed, you have the right to obtain the pay you are due and, in some cases, you have the right to liquidated (double) damages and attorney fee reimbursement.

Exploring your legal options and seeking guidance can help you find a path toward receiving back pay for your overtime work.