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Employees who are entitled to overtime may not understand how frequently it must be paid. You should generally receive overtime pay along with your regular wages, so your employer has some discretion over when you receive it. However, if you believe your employer is unfairly withholding overtime or it isn’t showing up along with your regular pay, it may be time to contact an overtime pay lawyer. That’s where our trusted national legal network can help.

When am I Entitled to Overtime?

The first step in ensuring that your employer is fairly paying you is to understand how overtime works. Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), most employees must be paid overtime for hours worked above 40 in a work week. Although there are exemptions to the law, they are narrowly defined and do not apply to most workers.

A work week does not have to correspond with a calendar week, so it can begin and end any day and any hour of the day that an employer chooses. But a work week must consist of a fixed and regularly recurring 7-day, 168-hour period. If your employer is constantly shifting the start and end dates (or times) of your work week to cut hours out of a pay period, this may be a deliberate attempt to deny you overtime.

Overtime is paid at the rate of 1.5 times your regular pay, which is why it’s also known as time and a half. Your regular rate of pay must be at least the federal or state/local minimum wage. Any time there are two minimum wage rates, the higher one applies. It’s also important to know that the FLSA sets the bare minimum rules for when overtime applies (once the employee’s hours exceed 40 in a given work week). State and local rules may provide more generous provisions which would apply instead.

Is My Employer Cheating Me Out of Overtime?

Unscrupulous employers are always looking for ways to cheat their workers out of overtime. As mentioned above, shifting the beginning and end dates or times of work weeks is one example of this, but it’s hardly the only one. Other tactics include:

  • Averaging hours across multiple weeks (every work week must stand-alone)
  • Miscalculating the number of hours or the rate of overtime pay
  • Misclassifying employees as independent contractors, who are generally not entitled to overtime
  • Incorrectly applying an exemption to overtime
  • Violating a state or local rule which provides more generous overtime protections for employees than the FLSA

When Should I Receive My Overtime?

How frequently should your overtime actually be paid? The answer depends on how often your employer normally pays your regular wages. According to the Department of Labor, which oversees and enforces the provisions of the FLSA, overtime pay that has been earned in a particular workweek must normally be paid on the regular payday for the pay period in which the wages were earned. So if you are paid every two weeks on a certain day, and during a given two-week period you earn overtime, it should show up on your next regular paycheck. 

The FLSA does not regulate how frequently workers must be paid. An employer can therefore set the frequency at such intervals as:

  • Weekly
  • Biweekly
  • Semimonthly
  • Monthly

Remember, however, that overtime is based on the number of hours worked in a given work week, not how frequently your employer pays you. 

What if My Overtime Pay is Late?

When employers fail to timely pay employees for their overtime, and payment is delayed beyond a pay period or two, the consequences can be significant. In recent cases arising out of a time-keeping system outage that caused significant delays in workers receiving their full overtime pay, employers have paid millions of dollars to compensate workers for this delay. 

How To Protect Your Overtime Rights

There are several practical steps you can take to ensure your employer does not cheat you out of overtime. First, familiarize yourself with the basics of the overtime laws where you live. This includes the federal provisions of the FLSA as well as state and local rules.

Next, keep track of your hours separate and apart from the timekeeping system your employer uses. Your employer could incorrectly total the number of hours you worked in a week, effectively denying you overtime. Never assume that an employer can’t or won’t make a mistake.

Finally, check your pay stubs or other records. Make sure the number of hours recorded is correct, along with your regular and overtime rates. Don’t forget that overtime must be at least 1.5 times your regular pay rate, which itself must be at least the minimum wage that applies to you under federal, state, or local laws or ordinances.

Let Our Legal Team Go To Work For You

If your employer isn’t paying you overtime along with your regular wages or is finding some other way to deny or withhold overtime pay, reach out to The Lore Law Firm. We understand overtime laws and we know how to make sure employees are being fairly compensated for their labor. Connect with us today by filling out our free and confidential online client intake form.