What Is Overtime Pay?
Employees are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours in their typical work week. Overtime pay, also referred to as “time and a half,” is an employee’s regular wage plus half that amount. Most employers try to get away with not paying their employees the correct overtime, or will force their employees to work overtime. This article will tell you everything you need to know about overtime and what federal overtime laws will protect you.
Also Read: 7 Red Flags You Should Sure Your Bad Boss
What You Need To Know About The Federal Overtime Laws
The Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and your state government regulate overtime pay and restrictions. Although each state does have different regulations on overtime, the general rate for overtime is one and a half times the employee’s regular pay.
To qualify for overtime, an employee must work over 40 hours in a given work week. The employee’s work week does not have to be consecutive or fixed. Overtime is calculated within “seven consecutive 24-hour periods.”
Overtime must be paid within the pay period when the overtime was earned and on the regular pay day. However, unless stated by your employer or your state regulations, the FLSA does not require overtime for weekends, holidays, or regular days off unless the time fits into the normal overtime working hours.
New 2020 Updates To Federal Overtime Laws
As of January 1, 2020, even more Americans now qualify for overtime. However, the following workers are overtime exempt according to the FSLA:
- Salaried employees who earn more than $35,568 a year.
- Employees doing office or non-manual work earning over $107,432 a year.
With these updates, employers can now use nondiscretionary bonuses, commissions, and incentives to pay up to 10% of their standard salary in recognition.
How Overtime Pay Works
Overtime only accounts for any hours worked over a 40 hour work week, not 8 hours within a day. Your employer can give you overtime for working over 8 hours within a day, but there is no federal stating that they must.
However, Alaska, California, and Nevada require employers give overtime pay to employees working over 8 hours in a day. There are also additional state laws in:
- Colorado: employers must pay overtime to employees working over 12 hours a day.
- Kentucky: employers must pay overtime to employees working 7 consecutive days.
- California: employers must pay double overtime to employees working over 12 hours a day.
Most states have specific guidelines for different industries or different types of workers. Be sure to always check your employee contract for more specifications if you’re unsure if state or federal law applies.
Also Read: Overtime Laws For Salaried Employees
Employers Forcing Overtime Hours
In short, your employer can force you to work overtime hours. Legally, the FLSA also allows an employer to fire you if you refuse to work overtime. Currently, under federal law, there is no limit for how much overtime workers over 16 can work. As long as an employee receives overtime pay, mandatory or forced overtime is legal.
Many states also regulate what mandatory overtime an employee can work. There are a few instances where forcing an employee to overtime is illegal everywhere:
- If the worker is under 16 years old.
- The overtime hours breaches a contract.
- Overtime work can create a health or safety risk.
- The employee does not receive overtime in accordance with state or federal law.
- The employee is protected by the FMLA for a family emergency.
If you’re unsure about whether your overtime is legal or if you’re illegally being forced to work over, call My Case Helper. We can connect you with an employment lawyer in your state to help you get the compensation you deserve.