Not all employers are obliged to pay overtime though most of them are. Similarly, not all employees earn overtime. The overtime rate is higher than an employee’s usual hourly rate. For every overtime hour, an employee deserves an amount that equals to his usual hourly rate along with 50% overtime premium.
Whether you have a claim to overtime pay depends on your job status, the law in your state and the total hours of your working.
Is it mandatory for employees to pay overtime?
Not all employers are required to pay overtime but an overwhelming majority of them do. Check the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Federal Wage and Hour Law to figure out whether your employer is covered by them. Usually, a business with an annual sale of $500,000 or more is covered in the FLSA.
The size of your company does not prevent it from being covered by the FLSA if the business is engaged in “Interstate Commerce”. If the company is so small or localized that it is not covered by the FLSA, it still comes under the overtime law of your state. Make sure to collect detailed information from your state’s labor department.
Who is eligible for overtime pay?
If your employer is covered under the FLSA rules and regulations, you are entitled to overtime pay unless your case is an exemption from the law. If you belong to any of the ‘exception’ categories, you are exempted from the Federal Overtime Law and in that case, you will not be entitled to overtime pay.
Keep in mind that even if your employer does not come under the FLSA, you are still eligible for overtime under your state’s law. Employees, who are not entitled to overtime pay, are listed below;
- ‘White Collar’ Workers such as professional, administrative employees and executives who receive salary-based payment
- Volunteers and independent workers
- Outside employees (who regularly and customarily work away from the workplace, taking or selling orders to sell goods and/or service)
- Employees engaged into recreational or seasonal businesses (for example, county fairs, ski resorts)
- Certain computer professionals such as, programmers, software engineers, system analysts, who is paid at least $27.63 per hour
- Employees working in non-profit educational conference centers, religious centers and organized camps that are run for fewer than seven months in a year
- Newspaper delivery persons
- Employees working at certain small newspapers
- Employees working on small farms
- Employees associated with fishing operation
- Criminal investigators
- Certain switchboard operators
- Domestic baby sitters or anyone providing companionship to elderly people or disabled persons (however, this exception does not include the professional caregivers hired for different domestic services)
What is overtime?
According to the FLSA, if your total working hours in a week exceed 40 hours, you will be considered to have overworked. Overtime calculation is different in some states. For example, some states follow a daily overtime standard that makes any employee entitled to overtime pay if he or she has worked more than 8 hours a day even if his or her total working hours are not more than 40 hours a week.
A wage and hour attorney is the best person to tell whether you are eligible for overtime pay. Talk to one if you think you are not paid overtime despite being entitled to it.