Dispelling Employment Myths Series – Issue 7: No Overtime for You!

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Ever play the game telephone? It’s a game in which one person whispers something into the ear of the next person, and that person is supposed to whisper the same thing into the ear of the next person, and so on. When the group gets to the last person, he or she is supposed to tell the group what was said.  Invariably, the final statement is completely different from the initial one. The same thing often happens with respect to people’s understanding of the law – specifically workplace or employment law.

This blog series is meant to address some of the common misconceptions about employment law that float around, and correct any misunderstandings. For the most part, there’s nothing very new about the issues in this series. However, most employment lawyers have heard friends in casual conversation or clients make inaccurate statements about employment law. These misunderstandings can often lead clients into trouble.

You can read the other myths in the series here.

Employment Myth #7: “My secretary worked 60 hours in the first week of the pay period and 20 hours in the next one, so she doesn’t get any overtime.”

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), non-exempt employees are entitled to receive overtime pay at the rate of 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate for each hour worked over 40 in a workweek. Exempt employees are not entitled to overtime pay. Just because an employer has multiple weeks in a pay period does not mean the weeks can be averaged for the purposes of calculating overtime pay. Each week must generally be considered on its own. In the example above, the non-exempt employee would get 20 hours of overtime pay for the first week and none for the second.

The regulations governing who is an exempt or non-exempt employee and those regarding the calculation of overtime are deceptively simple.

 


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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