North Dakota has enacted its own state laws regarding overtime pay and minimum wages. As a result, workers in North Dakota are protected by both the federal wage and hour laws (Fair Labor Standards Act – FLSA) and state law.
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Overtime Laws in North DakotaNorth Dakota’s overtime pay laws are similar in many respects to federal law but do vary on several points:
- Non-exempt employees (including those paid a day rate) must be paid 1.5 times their regular hourly rate for all hours worked over 40 in a single workweek.
- Daily overtime is not required under North Dakota state law.
- Overtime is calculated on a weekly basis, regardless of the length of the pay period.
- Also, overtime hours may not be “banked” and used for time off in a later week.
- Overtime is based only on hours actually worked – paid holidays, PTO, or sick leave do not have to be counted in computing overtime hours.
- Comp time in lieu of payment for overtime is not permitted, except by governmental employers
- North Dakota overtime laws and federal wage law prohibits employers from retaliating against any employee for filing any complaint or starting any proceeding under or related to the wage and hour laws. Employees are protected regardless of whether the complaint is made orally or in writing.
OVERTIME IN THE OIL PATCH
North Dakota overtime laws were implemented to protect workers in these industries and others. The oil and gas drilling industry is one in which overtime pay violations have routinely been found and from which millions of dollars have been recovered for unpaid / underpaid workers.
Common Oilfield Overtime ViolationsThe following are a few examples of common violations:
- Oilfield workers who are paid straight time for overtime (eg $17/hour for all hours worked, including hours over 40 per week)
- Workers paid a set day-rate and no overtime, even though they work over 40 hours per week (common for inspectors, mud loggers / mud engineers /solids control techs)
- Workers who are treated as “independent contractors” instead of employees to avoid paying them time and a half for overtime
- Non-exempt workers who are paid a “salary” and no overtime, even though they work over 40 hours per week and are not involved in management or operations of the company.
- IT / Tech Support workers who are not computer programmers or systems analysts
What Oilfield Industry Jobs are at Risk?The following is a sampling of the oil and gas industry jobs that have been subject to overtime wage law violations:
- Pipeline Inspectors
- Top Drive Technicians
- Top Drive Assistants
- Top Drive Mechanic
- Service Supervisors
- Field Office Clerks
- Field Service Technicians / Engineers
- Water Truck Drivers
- Pumpers / Field Operators / Lease Operators
- Tool Pushers
- Mud Loggers and Mud Logging Technicians
Are You Owed Back Overtime Wages?
Specific Exemptions in North DakotaEmployers must follow both the North Dakota labor laws and United States federal law, which requires employers to pay all “employees” a minimum wage and increased rate for overtime. However, there are exceptions under North Dakota overtime laws that “exempt” certain types of workers. The following is a partial listing of exempt jobs, meaning they are not required to be paid overtime:
- Persons employed in a bona fide Administrative, Executive, or Professional capacity.
- Employees who work for certain motor carriers – including drivers who operate vehicles over 10,000 lbs GVWR in interstate commerce.
- An employee engaged in an agricultural occupation – growing, raising, preparing, or delivering agricultural commodities for market.
- A mechanic paid on a commission basis off a flat rate schedule.
- A straight commission salesperson in retail automobile, trailer, boat, aircraft, truck, or farm implement dealerships unless that salesperson is required to be on the premises for more than forty hours per week.
- A computer professional exercising discretion and independent judgment when designing, developing, creating, analyzing, testing, or modifying computer programs or who is paid hourly at a rate of at least $27.63.
- An employee of a retail establishment if the employee’s regular rate of pay exceeds 1.5 times the minimum hourly rate applicable if more than half of the employee’s compensation for a period of not less than one month is derived from commission on goods or services sold.
Travel Time & Pay in North DakotaThe following types of travel time are considered work time under North Dakota wage laws for which an employee must be compensated:
- Travel during regular work hours
- Travel on non-work days during regular work hours (regular work hours are those typically worked by an employee on work days)
- Travel time from job site to job site or from office to job site
- The driver of a vehicle is working at anytime when required to travel by the employer
- One-day assignments performed at the employer’s request (regardless of driver or passenger status).