Many companies throughout the United States rely on hardworking employees working overtime to stay afloat. In the US, “overtime” is reached when employees exceed 40 hours per week. Hourly employees who are eligible for overtime are owed time and a half for each additional hour past 40 they work; however, some employees may wonder if their employers can legally require them to work overtime hours. If so, are they due time and a half for those additional hours?

Who Qualifies for Overtime Pay in Texas? 

Before we can dive into the specific scenario above, we must first establish who is eligible to receive overtime pay. Not all employees working more than 40 hours a week are entitled to overtime. 

In Texas, hourly employees who make less than $455 per week and who work in a non-exempt position are due overtime wages. A “nonexempt employee” is an employee who is not exempt from the overtime rules outlined in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Independent contractors may not qualify for overtime pay. If you’re an independent contractor, you are not an employee of the company. Rather, you have been hired to complete a specific job or project and have agreed to specific terms in a contract. You are in charge of setting your rates and hours, and only work when you are needed. You use your own equipment, determine your own salary, and pay your own taxes. If you are self-employed, you may also pay for your own health insurance.

Can An Employer Require Overtime? 

You may wonder if your employer can require you to work overtime. Generally speaking, yes. Overtime is regulated at the federal level by FLSA. At this level, there are no restrictions on being required to work overtime. 

Some states have enacted laws that are more favorable to employees than others, but for the most part, they can mandate you to work overtime and can punish you if you don’t. This can even include overtime without notice or even work an additional shift without notice. 

Additionally, there is no cap on hours, either. From a general legal standpoint, there isn’t anything in the FLSA that says how many hours per week or month you are required to work.

What to Do if You are Not Receiving Payment for Mandatory Overtime

If you are a non-exempt employee and you aren’t being paid time and a half, then there might be an issue. Some employers might try and skirt the overtime laws by making you work split shifts. This is where you work more than 8 hours, but you have a gap of more than 4 hours in the middle. 

Or they may try to use other tricks to save themselves the expense of overtime pay, like having you work before and after midnight to make it two separate days but still ask you to work more than 40 hours. 

Protect Your Rights by Contacting an Overtime Pay Attorney 

The first thing to do is know that you’re not alone. Going up against an employer can be intimidating by yourself. They may threaten to fire you if you speak up. The next thing is to gather up all your pay stubs or documents showing how many hours worked and you pay. Then pick up your phone and contact the overtime law experts at The Lore Law Firm. You can reach us by calling 866-559-0400 or filling out the contact form.