Top 5 States with the Best Overtime Laws for Workers (an infographic)

and what makes them better….

If up to 70% of employers are NOT in compliance with the labor laws concerning overtime, you are most likely not getting paid what you deserve. In the year 2012, $148,560,700 in back wages was recovered for thousands of employees. With such significant statistics rising over the past several years, it is wise to understand your rights when it comes to overtime pay, and the laws in your state that will support them.

Here are the basics to consider, first

Most common overtime pay violations

Day Rate pay with no overtime premium:

Day rate” or “daily rate” pay requires that employees are paid a flat amount for each day worked, regardless of the number of hours put in each day. Employers are still required by law, however, to pay most day rate employees overtime for all hours worked in a week over 40.

Straight Time paid for overtime:

Experts define straight time as “equal to the task hours an employee is expected to work in a day. For example, if employees are required to work 8 hours a day, you would enter 8 hours for straight time in the Work Week Overtime condition of their overtime rule.” Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for workers to be paid “straight time for overtime.”

Misclassification as an independent contractor (1099 “employee”):

Missclassifying an employee as an independent contractor gives the employeer the right to not pay the individual as an employee. While The Fair Labor Standards Act requires minimum wage and overtime pay for employees, independent contractors are not under the same requirement. Furthermore,  it is not mandatory for independent contractors “to be paid time and a half for working overtime.”

You can’t sign away your right to overtime

When it comes to “overtime,” you have a right and it can’t be taken away from you. Regardless of an agreement you and your employeer could have made soley straight pay or day rate, laws of the state can over-ride those contracts and return your lost wages to you.  

(Click to Enlarge)
(Click to Enlarge)

Now that we have addressed the basics, here are the top five states with the best overtime laws

#1 California

Daily Overtime:

California non-exempt workers are entitled to daily overtime if they work over 8 hours in a single day. The federal rule only provides time and a half for 40+ hours per week. If you work more than 8 hours in any one day, you are owed time and a half for any hours worked over 8.

Golden Time Rule:

If you work more than 12 hours in any one day, you get paid double for any hours worked over 12. Also, you are entitled to double time pay for any work in excess of 8 hours on the 7th consecutive day.

Claim Filing Deadline:

The statute of limitation for claims alleging the non-payment of wages is 2, 3, or 4 years depending on the type of claim.   Breaks: If an employee works over 5 hours in a day, they get a 30 minute meal break.

Class Actions:

Overtime wage claims may be brought as true class actions under California state law. Workers can benefit from a case without having to “opt-in” as required under federal law.

#2 New York

Reporting Pay:

If an employee reports for duty for a scheduled shift, whether assigned to actual work or not, they are entitled to be paid the minimum wage rate for at least three hours for one shift or the number of hours regularly scheduled shift; whichever is less. Reporting pay is not required in most states or under federal labor law.

Breaks:

Factory workers must be given at least a 60 minute break. Mercantile & other workers must be given at least a 30 minute break for noonday meal if they work a shift of more than 6 hours.

Claim Filing Deadline:

New York provides a 6 year statute of limitations-verses a default 2 years under federal law. Unpaid overtime wages can be recovered for a period going back 6 years from the date a claim is filed.

Class Actions:

Overtime wage claims may be brought as true class actions under New York state law. Workers can benefit from a case without having to “opt-in” as required under federal law.

#3 Illinois

Claim Filing Deadline:

Illinois provides a 3 year statute of limitations.

Exemptions: I

llinois does not recognize the exemption for computer professionals or highly compensated employees, which means both may be owed overtime.

Breaks:

Employees must receive at least 20 minute meal break if scheduled to work 7.5 hours or more, no more than 5 hours into the shift.

Penalties for Wage Theft:

Employees may recover 3 times the amount of any wage underpayments, plus court costs and attorney’s fees. (S.B. 1 IL 2019)

Class Actions:

Overtime wage claims may be brought as true class actions under Illinois state law. Workers can benefit from a case without having to “opt-in” as required under federal law.

#4 Pennsylvania

Claim Filing Deadline:

Pennsylvania provides a 3 year statute of limitations.

Exemptions:

Pennsylvania does not recognize the exemption for computer professionals or highly compensated employee exemption which means both may be owed overtime.

In order to qualify for the outside sales exemption, you must spend 80% of your time out of the office.

Overtime Pay Calculation:

Pennsylvania does not allow the use of the fluctuating work week method of calculation overnight pay(a/k/a Chinese overtime).

Class Actions:

Overtime wage claims may be brought as true class actions under Pennsylvania state law. Workers can benefit from a case without having to “opt-in” as required under federal law.

#5 Colorado

Daily Overtime:

Colorado non-exempt workers are entitled to daily overtime if they work over 12 hours in one workday or if they work any 12 consecutive hours.

Breaks:

Employees must receive a 30 minute break for ever 5 hours worked.

Class Actions:

Overtime wage claims may be brought as true class actions under Colorado state law. Workers can benefit from a case without having to “opt-in” as required under federal law.

Want Help From an Overtime Lawyer?

Fill out our quick case evaluation form for a free and confidential review of your situation.