Employment Law -- Employee
Most employees in the U.S. are eligible for overtime pay when their work hours exceed a threshold during a particular period. Employers must understand overtime pay laws because payroll is often the company's most significant expense. Employees must understand the overtime rules to ensure their employer pays them the correct amount.
This page gives a broad overview of the overtime pay rules. It links to more detailed articles that can help you answer specific questions. Because overtime laws vary by state, we suggest consulting an employment law attorney in a city near you to give you the best advice about your unique circumstances.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") contains the federal overtime provisions. Under the FLSA, an employer must pay a non-exempt employee premium pay of at least one and one-half times (also referred to as time and a half) the employee's regular rate of pay for hours worked over 40 in a work week. Overtime pay is due on the regular payday for the pay period in which the employee worked overtime.
The FLSA does not limit the number of hours employees over 16 can work. It also does not require overtime wages for regular days of rest such as weekends and holidays unless the employee works overtime hours on those days. For instance, under the FLSA, an employee who works on a Sunday is not entitled to overtime pay unless they exceed 40 hours in their work week.
The FLSA can cover employees in two ways: enterprise and individual.
The FLSA classifies employees based on whether they are eligible for overtime compensation. The employer must pay non-exempt employees for overtime while it does not have to do so for non-exempt employees. The overtime exemption typically applies to salaried employees and employees with unconventional work schedules and tasks.
The FLSA lists the following five categories of exempt employees:
Technology allows many employees to work outside of the office. The FLSA does not distinguish between overtime work performed at the office and remote overtime work. So, the employer must pay a non-exempt employee overtime when it requires or permits employees to work over 40 hours, regardless of whether the employee works in the office or out of it.
The "required and permitted" language means that the employer should provide authorization for the employee to earn overtime while working outside the office. For instance, an employee may not be entitled to overtime for checking email on the weekend when the employer did not intend for the employee to do so.
The avoid confusion, the employer should provide express and explicit instructions on what kind of overtime it authorizes.
Some states have overtime laws in addition to the FLSA. When an employee is subject to both state and federal overtime laws, the employee is entitled to overtime according to whichever law pays the higher overtime pay.
California has state overtime laws. In addition to requiring overtime for hours over 40 in a work week, California requires employers to pay non-exempt employees time and a half when they work more than eight hours a workday. The overtime rate increases to double the employee's regular hourly rate (double time) for hours worked over 12 in a day. In addition, California requires employers to pay employees overtime on Sundays if the employee works seven days a week.
Florida overtime laws, on the other hand, largely follow the FLSA. One significant difference is that employees in physical labor jobs who work more than ten hours a day are eligible for overtime.
Texas also follows the FLSA but has additional limitations. Hospitals cannot require nurses to work overtime. Nurses can work overtime if they so choose.
Even everyday legal matters can become complex and stressful. Law Info intends to provide helpful and informative information in publishing this article and not to provide legal advice. A qualified employment lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact an attorney in your area from our directory to discuss your specific legal situation.