Unpaid Overtime

What if you work more than 40 hours a week, but do not get paid time and a half for working overtime? In many cases, this scenario would mean that your employer is acting in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). However, not every business, and not every employee is protected by the FLSA. In order to know whether you and your place of work are covered by the FLSA, and to determine if you should be receiving time and a half for overtime work, you should understand who the FLSA applies to and what your rights are as an employee.

The FLSA was enacted in response to widespread mistreatment of employees during the Great Depression era, when employees’ desperation for work made them vulnerable to mistreatment by employers. The original act set a federal minimum wage, standards for overtime work, and placed regulations for child labor practices.

Which businesses must comply with the FLSA?

For a company to be subject to the FLSA, they must either be engaged in interstate commerce or have yearly sales of at least $500,000 dollars a year. Since the requirement of interstate commerce is construed broadly, most places of business fall under the requirements set forth in the FLSA.

Are all employees covered by the FLSA’s overtime rules?

No, certain positions are not subject to the overtime requirements stated in the FLSA. In the case of salaried employees earning more than $100,000 a year, these employees are likely not covered by overtime pay requirements set forth in the FLSA.

Employees who are executives, or perform executive job functions such as supervising multiple employees, performing management functions, and who have hiring and firing duties are not covered by the overtime requirements. Employees whose jobs include non-manual office work, work related to general operations or the business, use independent judgment and deal with important matters are considered administrators and are also excluded. Other professional positions requiring specialized training and education, including lawyers, teachers, dentists, and doctors are also exempt.

Additionally, certain employees in specific fields might be exempt from the FLSA’s overtime requirements. This includes live in domestic workers or caregivers, employees in transportation industries who are paid rates for trips, some commissioned employees for retail or service industry jobs, news editors and announcers, and farmworkers among others.

I think I am covered by the FLSA’s overtime requirements, what am I owed?

According to the FLSA’s overtime rules, nonexempt employees must receive time and a half for every hour over 40 they work within a workweek. The FLSA does not limit the number of hours a person 16 or older may work within a week. If a person works on weekends or holidays those hours do not automatically trigger the need for overtime pay unless they result in a total number of weekly work hours that exceeds 40.

I am supposed to get overtime pay, but my employer is not paying me, what are my rights?

If you are an employee covered by the overtime requirements in the FLSA, and have worked more than 40 hours in a week, you are owed an overtime rate set at a minimum of time and a half. If your employer is not paying you at the rate required in the FLSA for your overtime hours, then they are in violation of the law.

The Wage-Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor is responsible for the enforcement of overtime laws. You may wish to file a complaint or report a violation of the FLSA to the Wage-Hour Division. You should also contact an attorney in order to seek compensation from your employer and to ensure that your rights are being protected.

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