Overtime pay under Pennsylvania law is designed to compensate employees for hours worked beyond the standard workweek. Understanding whether you are entitled to this additional pay hinges on several factors, including your job duties, industry, and employment classification. Both state and federal laws outline specific guidelines to determine eligibility.

Understanding Overtime Pay In Pennsylvania

Overtime pay is a form of compensation for employees who work beyond a standard workweek, typically 40 hours. Under state and federal laws, eligible employees are entitled to receive one and a half times their regular pay rate for hours worked over this threshold. However, the eligibility for overtime pay is influenced by the nature of the job, employee classification, and specific industry standards. Workers should understand these distinctions, as they directly impact the computation of overtime and determine whether one is entitled to this enhanced pay rate for extended working hours.

Who is Entitled to Overtime Pay?

In Pennsylvania, eligibility for overtime pay primarily hinges on an employee’s job classification as “exempt” or “non-exempt.” Non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek. This group commonly includes hourly workers, but it can also encompass salaried employees, depending on their job duties, salary level, and industry.

Non-exempt positions are found in almost all sectors, such as retail, manufacturing, energy, hospitality, financial services and healthcare. Employees in these roles often perform tasks requiring manual labor or direct customer service. For instance, cashiers, nurses, factory workers, non-management office workers and servers are generally considered non-exempt and thus eligible for overtime pay.

Conversely, exempt employees are not entitled to overtime regardless of how many hours they work. This category often includes professionals, managers, and certain skilled workers who meet specific criteria related to their job duties and salary. However, employees should not solely rely on job titles when determining their status. The duties performed and compensation received are key factors in defining exemption status.

Moreover, Pennsylvania law provides additional qualifications or exemptions beyond federal standards. For example, state-specific regulations impact sectors like technology or agriculture, making understanding both state and federal guidelines critical for accurately determining overtime eligibility.

What Counts as “Hours Worked” in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania’s overtime pay laws significantly favor employees compared to federal standards, especially in defining what constitutes compensable “work.” Under state law, non-exempt employees, such as those paid hourly or on a piece-rate basis, are required to be compensated for every minute they perform work. This encompasses a broad range of activities, including time spent at a work location or on duty, travel as part of the job during normal working hours, and any period during which work is permitted by the employer.

Furthermore, compensable time includes activities such as undergoing security and COVID-19 screenings, starting computers before clocking in, shutting down systems after clocking out, waiting for assignments on work premises, changing in and out of work clothes, checking voicemails or emails at the start of the day, and managing work-related communications off the clock. These provisions underline the state’s commitment to ensuring workers are fairly paid for all their work-related activities, including those that occur before and after the official work period.

Calculating Your Overtime Pay

Calculating your overtime pay in Pennsylvania starts with understanding your regular hourly rate. For those paid hourly, the process is straightforward: overtime is typically one and a half times your regular rate for each hour worked beyond the standard 40-hour workweek. For salaried employees, calculate your hourly rate by dividing your weekly salary by the number of hours the salary is intended to cover, usually 40.

After determining your regular hourly rate, multiply this figure by 1.5 to find your overtime rate. You should be compensated at this increased rate for every hour worked over 40 hours in a workweek. It’s important to accurately track all hours worked, including any time beyond your scheduled hours, as this directly influences your entitlement to overtime pay. Certain bonuses or incentives may also be included in the calculation of your regular rate, affecting your overall overtime compensation.

What to Do if You’re Not Receiving Overtime Pay

If you suspect you’re not receiving the overtime pay you’re entitled to, review your work hours and pay stubs to ensure accuracy. Document all instances where you believe you’ve been underpaid. Next, approach your employer or HR department with your concerns; sometimes, discrepancies are due to misunderstandings or clerical errors that can be resolved internally.

If addressing the issue directly with your employer does not lead to a satisfactory outcome, consider seeking legal counsel to help decide if you should pursue a claim in court or by filing a complaint with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. They can provide guidance and investigate your claim. 

Contact an Experienced Pennsylvania Overtime Pay Attorney

At the Lore Law Firm, we are dedicated to protecting your rights as an employee. Our experienced team can provide personalized advice, help you navigate your overtime pay issues, and represent you in legal matters. Complete our free and confidential online client intake form. Let us help you ensure you are receiving all the compensation you deserve.