woman working overtime

Overtime pay represents a significant aspect of your earnings, especially when you put in many extra hours at work. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) mandates that employees should receive additional compensation for hours worked beyond their standard 40-hour workweek. While the rules can get intricate, it’s crucial for you as an employee to know when you’re entitled to overtime to make sure you’re fully compensated for your dedication and hard work.

Understanding Overtime Pay

Overtime pay is additional compensation for work performed beyond the standard 40-hour workweek. In the United States, the FLSA generally requires that employees be paid at a rate of one and a half times their regular pay rate for any hours worked over 40 in a workweek. However, not all employees are eligible for overtime; the law provides specific criteria that must be met for an employee to qualify. Understanding whether you fall within the category of workers entitled to overtime pay (legally referred to as “non-exempt”) is crucial to ensuring you receive the wages you are due.

Exemptions and Eligibility

The eligibility for overtime pay hinges on whether an employee is classified as “exempt” or “non-exempt” under the FLSA. Exempt employees, typically those in executive, professional, and certain administrative roles, do not qualify for overtime pay based on their job duties and being paid at least $35,568 per year on a salary basis. Conversely, non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime wages when they work more than the standard 40-hour workweek. It’s essential for employees to understand their classification to ensure they are compensated correctly for any overtime hours worked.

State Variations on Overtime Laws

While federal law provides a baseline for overtime pay, many states have enacted their own regulations that may offer greater protections to employees. For instance, some states require overtime pay for hours worked over a certain number per day (e.g. over 8 or 12 hours per day in California), in addition to the weekly standards set by the FLSA. It’s important for employees to be aware of the laws specific to their state, as they can sometimes entitle workers to higher overtime compensation than the federal minimum. 

Consequences of Not Paying Overtime

Employers who fail to properly compensate their staff for overtime work face significant legal and financial repercussions. The penalties can range from paying back wages to additional sums in liquidated damages, which can equal the unpaid overtime itself, effectively doubling the owed amount. Beyond financial penalties, there’s also the potential for reputational damage, which can impact a business’s customer relations and employee retention. 

What To Do If You’re Not Receiving Overtime

If you suspect that you’re not receiving the overtime pay you’re entitled to, it’s important to start by reviewing your hours and pay stubs to confirm any discrepancies. You should then raise the issue with your employer or human resources department, as it may be an oversight that can be quickly rectified. If the situation isn’t resolved internally, you should promptly seek assistance from an employment lawyer who can guide you through the process and help protect your rights.

Is Your Employer Paying You the Correct Amount of Overtime?

If you believe you have not received the overtime pay you’re legally entitled to, it’s crucial to take prompt action. There are strict deadlines for bringing claims under federal and state labor laws. Our experienced employment law attorneys at the Lore Law Firm are ready to help you understand your rights and can assist in recovering any wages you are owed. Contact us by filling out our free and confidential online client intake form and take steps today to ensure you’re fairly compensated for your hard work.

Michael Lore is the founder of The Lore Law Firm. For over 25 years, his law practice and experience extend from representing individuals in all aspects of labor & employment law, with a concentration in class and collective actions seeking to recover unpaid back overtime wages, to matters involving executive severance negotiations, non-compete provisions and serious personal injury (work and non-work related). He has handled matters both in the state and federal courts nationwide as well as via related administrative agencies. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Michael by using our chat functionality.