Being familiar with overtime laws is the best way to know if you are entitled to overtime pay. Unfamiliarity with these laws leads to a lot of hardworking employees being deprived of the pay that they have earned.
Employers will continue depriving workers of hard earned wages to cut costs unless employees stand up for their rights. Read on to learn more about your rights to overtime pay.
What Are the Most Important Overtime Laws to Consider in the US?
Overtime pay has its origins in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that passed in 1938. The FLSA applies to workers in all 50 states because of its passage at the federal level. Under this law, employees who work more than 40 hours in a week must be paid overtime.
The overtime pay rate is time and a half, or 1.5 times the worker’s regular rate of pay. The overtime rate must include all compensation you earn such as bonuses, commissions, and shift differentials. Thus, the overtime pay rate goes beyond 1.5 times the employee’s hourly rate. Employers often cheat employees by not including all pay into the overtime pay rate. In most cases, it doesn’t matter if you’re salaried or hourly; you are still entitled to overtime pay for all hours you work weekly which exceed 40 hours per week.
The FLSA, however, does exempt certain employees from overtime eligibility. Employees who earn at least $684 weekly or $35,568 annually while serving in administrative, professional, or managerial roles are exempt. You should talk to an employment lawyer if your employer is paying you a salary, but you believe you are entitled to overtime pay.
Can You Be Entitled to Overtime Pay Under State Laws?
Many states have laws that also allow employees to be entitled to overtime pay. Employers are obligated to comply with both the FLSA and any applicable state laws. Employers must comply with whichever law provides the employees the higher pay.
Some states require employers to pay daily overtime or provide different overtime eligibility than the FLSA. For example, California requires employers to pay daily overtime to employees in most jobs once they work 8 hours in one day and double time if they work more than 12 hours in one day. An employment lawyer will educate you on which overtime law best applies to your case.
Should You Go Ahead With a Claim?
If you are owed overtime pay, you should always pursue what you are owed. There are also some circumstances to keep in mind that might mean further action because of labor law violations.
Some employers feel that they can disregard the laws or change company policy to circumvent paying overtime. Other ways employers try to get out of paying overtime is by getting employees to waive overtime claims based on a special deal or having a no-overtime policy.
Both of these types of policies violate the law.
There are also other circumstances to watch out for where the employer is attempting to deny employees overtime pay:
- A workweek is averaged over more than one week, such as two weeks or a month
- Comp time unless you work for the government or municipality
- Refusing to allow reporting of overtime (working “off the clock”)
- Classifying you as exempt when you are not
- Classifying you as a contractor when you perform the functions of an employee
What Should You Do If You Need to File a Claim?
If you’ve worked hard for a company, you might feel lost when you’re not paid what you are owed. Although you might know that your employer acted wrongly toward you, you might be at a loss as to your next steps.
One of the most important things to remember is that having as much documentation as possible may help you. Pay records are vital in making a claim about overtime pay owed. You, however, do not need any records to pursue an overtime claim. Your employment attorney can obtain any necessary records either before the case is filed or soon thereafter.
Consulting with an employment lawyer can help you understand your rights and give you a chance to have your most important questions answered. You should never feel as though you are alone in your struggle.
Rowdy Meeks Legal Group LLC can help you with all your employment-related wage concerns, including finding out if you are entitled to overtime pay; contact us for more information.