Overtime laws are regulated by the Fair Labor Standards Act to protect employees from being overworked by employers without being fairly compensated. The current overtime laws state that an employee who works more than 40 hours a week should receive additional pay of time and a half for any hours worked over and above those 40 hours.
For example – an employee who is currently being paid $7.25 (the current minimum wage) per hour should receive an additional $3.625 for time exceeding 40 hours per week (or 8 hours a day) as per their contractual agreement. This amounts to an hourly rate of $10.875 in overtime pay.
The 40 hour week is generally calculated at a rate of 8 hours per day over a 5 day working week. Legally, an employee cannot work more than 48 hours per week unless they choose to or opt out of the weekly limit. An employee can also not be required to work more than the regulated amount of consecutive hours in a 24 hour period without rest or a break.
Who Is Protected By Overtime Law?
While the Fair Labor Standards Act is intended to protect every employee, there are some exceptions to the rule when it comes to overtime. For example, emergency responders and medical personnel are not governed by the same overtime practices. However, they are governed by a different set of regulations with regards to working hours, breaks, rest time and overtime pay.
An exception is also made for performing certain tasks or jobs over and above an employee’s regular duties. Regular duties should be laid out in a work contract. An employee who performs additional tasks may be paid their regular hourly wage as compensation.
Employees who are working two different jobs will also not receive overtime for total hours exceeding the standard 40 hour work week – even if the employee is working both jobs for the same employer. However, if they work more than 40 hours at either of their jobs, they are eligible for overtime pay.
If you choose to opt out of the 40 hour work week standard, then your employer is also not legally obligated to pay you overtime.
What To Do If An Employer Is Not Paying The Regulated Overtime?
If your employer is not paying you overtime for hours that you have worked that exceed the standard work week, then there are certain measures that you can take. If you are a member of a union, you should inform your union representative and find out what steps you should take.
If you aren’t part of a union, you can report your employer for non-compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act to your local labor office. You can also consult a labor lawyer or attorney for advice and to seek compensation for hours that you worked over and above the legal 40 hour work week.
Remember to read your employment contract carefully before signing it. Be aware that it may include a clause to opt out of overtime pay which will exclude you from being paid extra to compensate you for working additional hours. Always refer to your employment contract when talking to your union representative, a labor lawyer or government official when about overtime law.