Wage Theft: Overtime pay – National Consumers League

Certain employees are guaranteed paid overtime by law. Are you one of them?

Laws require overtime pay, at a pay rate of at least time-and-a-half, for some employees who work more than 40 hours a week. There are exceptions to that general rule, however, and that’s where some employees – those who should be getting overtime pay but aren’t – may find themselves a victim of wage theft.

For covered, nonexempt employees, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires overtime pay at a rate of not less than one and one-half times an employee’s regular rate of pay after 40 hours of work in a workweek. Some exceptions to the 40 hours per week standard apply under special circumstances to police officers and firefighters employed by public agencies and to employees of hospitals and nursing homes.

Some states also have enacted overtime laws. Where an employee is subject to both the state and federal overtime laws, the employee is entitled to overtime according to the higher standard (i.e., the standard that will provide the higher rate of pay).

Overtime: who is exempt and who is not?

The FLSA provides an exemption from both minimum wage and overtime pay for employees employed as bona fide executive, administrative, professional and outside sales employees. There are also exemptions for certain computer employees.

To qualify for exemption, employees generally must meet certain tests regarding their job duties and be paid on a salary basis at not less than $455 per week.

Job titles do not determine exempt status. In order for an exemption to apply, an employee’s specific job duties and salary must meet all the requirements of the Department’s regulations.

Examples of occupations not exempt from overtime (should receive overtime and at least minimum wage):

  • Nurses
  • First Responders (police, fire fighters, EMTs, etc.)
  • Construction workers
  • Insurance Claims Adjusters

For more information regarding overtime as well as overtime exceptions please contact the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division at www.wagehour.dol.gov or the Department of Labor Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Overtime Security Advisor at www.dol.gov/elaws/overtime.htm or the Department of Labor Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Overtime Calculator Advisor at www.dol.gov/elaws/otcalculator.htm and/or call the toll-free information and helpline, available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in your time zone, 1-866- 4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243).

Source – U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division