Labor and Employment

Who Gets Paid Overtime and When?

Employees working more than 40 hours a week are generally entitled to extra pay for the overtime hours worked. Employers throughout the country must follow the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires the payment of overtime. However, some states have enacted their own overtime laws that give some employees more rights to overtime pay than the FLSA provides.

FLSA Sets The Basic Overtime Rules

The FLSA overtime rules are based on the principle that 40 hours of work constitutes one workweek. For every hour worked over 40 hours in one week, employees must be paid a minimum of one and one-half times their regular rates of pay.

The FLSA does not limit the number of hours employees over age 16 may work in any workweek. The FLSA does not require extra pay for work done on a particular day, such as a Sunday or holiday, or for working at night. Further, the FLSA does not require double time pay under any circumstances.

State Overtime Laws Versus FLSA Requirements

Because some state overtime laws cover employees who are also covered by the FLSA , these employees are entitled to whichever overtime pay rate is higher.

For example, although the FLSA does not require overtime pay based on the hours worked in one day, Colorado employers are required by state law to pay employees one and one-half times their regular rates when they work more than 12 hours in one workday. California employers are required to pay one and one-half times the regular rate after employees work more than eight hours in one workday.

Not All Employees Are Covered by Overtime Laws

The FLSA and state overtime pay rules do not cover certain employees regardless of the number of hours worked in one day or one week. For example, the FLSA states that employees who work in positions considered "executive, administrative, professional, and outside sales" are exempt from overtime rules. Some computer employees are also exempt.

States typically issue "wage orders" that specify the occupations not covered by overtime pay rules.

Employees Exempt from Overtime Pay

Employees are not exempt from overtime pay based on a job title, or on whether an employee is paid by the hour or salaried. Exemptions are based on job duty requirements. An employee who is a manager, regularly supervises other employees, and has input on the job status of other employees (can hire, fire or promote) is typically exempt from overtime pay.

Administrative duties that render an employee exempt from overtime pay include office work directly related to management or general business operations that involve independent judgment regarding significant matters.

An Employment Lawyer Can Help

The law surrounding overtime pay is complicated. Plus, the circumstances surrounding each employment are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact an employment lawyer.

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