An employee who works more than 40 hours in a workweek may be entitled to additional payment for the extra hours worked. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulates this compensation. This federal law establishes the minimum wage, governs overtime eligibility, record keeping, and child labor laws.
For much of the population, any hours worked over a 40 in the workweek are paid at one and half times the standard rate of pay. As a result, employers are not allowed to pay less. The last revision to the overtime regulations was in May of 2016.
- There is no limit to how many overtime hours an employer can have an employee work
- Employers are not required to pay overtime for Saturday and Sunday unless working those days puts the employee over the 40 hours
- Employers are not permitted to average the worked hours over a two week pay period
Even when working for a company that is required to pay overtime, there may be times overtime will not be paid.
- An employee substituting for a coworker of the same job capacity, at their option, with company approval
- Seasonal Employees
- An employee working a sporadic part-time position in a different role than their usual position
- Mass transit employees engaged in a charter activity
A business that makes less than $500,000 per year is not required to pay overtime. A Salaried worker may not qualify for overtime under certain conditions.
- Executive exemption – a manager who can hire and fire and earns above a specific dollar amount
- Administrative exemption – for salaried office workers
- Professional exception – a salaried individual in an advanced field
- Computer employee – a salaried system analyst, programmer or software engineer
- Outside sales exemption- an employee who is out of the office regularly for sales calls
In some states, local and state employees are offered comp time rather than time and a half. With comp time the employee earns one and one-half hours off for every hour worked over 40. The employer is then obligated to give employees those requested days off unless it poses an undue disruption to the business. Comp hours apply to:
- Law enforcement
- Fire protection
- Emergency Responders
- Seasonal Employees
Employees can earn 480 hours of comp time in a year, while the rest of the local and state employees can bank up to 240 hours.
Exemptions to the Work Week
There are some notable exemptions to the traditional 40 hour workweek. Hospital and Residential Care facilities can adopt a work period of 14 consecutive days and overtime after 8 hours a day or 8o hours in the work period. However, the employee must know in advance. While Firefighters and Police Departments may establish a work period ranging from 7-28 days and pay overtime after a specific number of hours worked for that time.
No Obligation for Holiday Pay
In some states, employers pay for all hours worked over 8 in a day and double time pay for hours worked over 12. However, there is no federal law stating a worker must be paid double time. Employers can offer holiday pay as a benefit but they are not obligated to give holiday pay. All non-exempt workers who work over 40 in a work week are entitled to time and a half. Holiday pay and double time for holidays are at the discretion of the employer.