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Do Employees Understand How Overtime Should be Calculated?


Employers are required by federal law (and some state laws) to pay their employees a minimum wage. Currently, the federal minimum wage rate is $7.25 per hour. Some state laws require higher minimum wage rates, but if your state does not have its own law, employers are required to at least impose the federal minimum. Overtime is required to be paid at “time and a half.” If an employer fails to pay its employees the applicable minimum wage, which includes overtime, they could be in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and any state law that applies. Although you may know your rights as an employee, do you know how your overtime should be calculated?

What Does the Law Require with Regard to Overtime Pay?

Non-exempt employees are required to be paid overtime wages if they work more than 40 hours in a single five-day work week. In most cases, non-exempt employees cannot be forced to waive their right to overtime wages. However, employees who work overtime when their employer has a written rule against it or who over-report their time are not afforded protection under the law.

Situations that May Constitute Overtime

This issue can be fact-specific, based on the rules in your state and the policies established by your employer, but there are some situations where you may be entitled to overtime pay. For example, coming to work earlier than scheduled and performing work at your employer’s request may constitute overtime. Also, if you are asked to work through lunch or stay overnight on an assignment out-of-state. The key is that your employer should either request or approve this type of work. If you simply come in early every day and you have not been authorized to do so, then your employer may not be required to pay you overtime. This is especially true if the company has an explicit policy prohibiting overtime.

What Happens if My Employer Does Not Pay Overtime?

If your employer does not pay you the overtime wage you are entitled when that wage is due to be paid, then you may be able to recover more than just the overtime wages you were denied. The law also allows recovery of an equal amount of the overtime wages you were denied as liquidated damages. You can also collect attorneys’ fees and costs if you bring an action to recover your wages. An employer that commits willful violations of the overtime times could also be required to pay punitive damages and overtime for up to three years prior. In order to make sure you receive the compensation to which you are entitled, based on your situation, let our Birmingham Employment Attorney review your case.

Which Employees are not Entitled to Overtime Pay?

As we said earlier, only non-exempt employees are entitled to “time and a half” overtime wages. Certain salaried employees are considered “exempt” from these rules. In order for an employer to classify an employee as exempt, the employee must be paid a minimum salary of $23,600 per year and perform exempt job duties. Salaried employment refers to being guaranteed a minimum amount of money the employee can depend upon receiving for a workweek. “Exempt job duties” are categorized as “executive,” “administrative,” or “professional” work and are essentially high-level job duties.

What Types of Job Duties are Exempt?

Positions where an employee supervises two or more employees and management is their primary duty are considered executive job duties. Supervision must include real input into the subordinate’s job status and not merely a perfunctory title. Professional job duties, on the other hand, refer to the traditional “learned professions,” such as lawyers, doctors, dentists, and architects, for example.

Classifying administrative employees is a bit more challenging. Generally speaking, administrative employees perform office work directly related to the business operations and management of the employer. They are expected to operate independently using their own judgment and discretion about significant issues.

If you feel you have been the victim of discrimination or retaliation in the workplace, or if you have any other questions regarding your employment rights, please contact the experienced Birmingham employment law attorneys at Michel | King . You can contact us either online or by calling us at (205) 265-1880. We are here to serve you!

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