Overtime means hours worked by an employee that exceed 40 hours per work week. Overtime also includes a premium pay rate for each hour of overtime that is worked. The FLSA requires employers to pay employees at least one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay. For example, if an employee is paid $9.00 per hour, that employee must be paid $12.50 per hour for all overtime hours worked.
Who is entitled to overtime pay?
Under federal and state law, all employees are entitled to overtime pay, unless covered by an exemption that makes them ineligible to receive overtime pay. The FLSA contains numerous exemptions, including three most common exemptions: the “executive,” “professional” and “administrative” exemptions. In addition, there are industry specific exemptions for interstate truck drivers, mechanics who work at car dealerships, outside sales employees and certain retail commissioned sales employees.
Can I make an agreement with my employer to not be paid overtime?
No. Employees cannot legally agree to waive their right to be paid overtime. Any agreement to the contrary is unenforceable.
Am I entitled to be paid overtime if I work more than eight hours in a workday?
No. Overtime is calculated based on a 40 hour workweek. Under the FLSA, a workweek consists of a seven consecutive day time period. Overtime is calculated on a workweek basis, not a daily basis.
How do I prove how many overtime hours I worked?
The FLSA requires employers to keep track of all hours worked by employee who are entitled to overtime. If your employer fails to keep accurate records, the court will allow you to testify as to the number of hours you worked, even if you have to estimate or approximate.
How much money can I recover if I file an overtime lawsuit against my employer?
The FLSA permits employees to recover the amount of overtime wages owed, plus attorney’s fees and costs. In addition, the FLSA also provides for liquidated damages, which allows you to recover an amount equal to the overtime wages you recover. For example, if you recover $10,000 in unpaid overtime, you may be entitled to $10,000 in liquidated damages, for a total recovery of $20,000, plus attorney’s fees and costs.
If I win my lawsuit, do I automatically receive liquidated damages?
No. Although liquidated damages are normally awarded to employees who win their overtime lawsuits, the FLSA allows employers to avoid liquidated damages if the employer can prove it acted in “good faith.”
Is there a limit to how many years of unpaid overtime I can collect from my employer?
Yes. The FLSA normally allows employees to collect unpaid overtime for a two (2) year period, measured back from the date you file your lawsuit. If you can prove that your employer’s failure to pay overtime was “willful,” the statute of limitations can be extended to three (3) years.