If your employer fails to pay your overtime on time or fails to pay overtime wages at all, this is wage theft. You can take action to hold your employer responsible and to recover your lost wages. We can help. Call us at 704-612-0038 to learn more.

Understanding How Overtime Pay Works

Under federal and state overtime laws, all non-exempt, hourly employees who work more than 40 hours in a single workweek must receive a higher wage for every hour past 40. This overtime rate must be at least one and a half times their regular pay rate.

As long as the employee is not overtime-exempt because of the nature of their job, overtime pay is mandatory any time an employee works more than 40 hours in a workweek. The employer can define “workweek” any way they want to, as long as it covers a seven-day period and remains the same.

Employers may pay on a variety of different schedules, including:

  • Weekly
  • Biweekly
  • Semimonthly
  • Monthly

How your employer schedules paychecks should not affect when you receive your overtime pay for a given week. You should still get your overtime wages in the same check as the regular rate hours from the same pay period.

Calculating Your Overtime Pay

As overtime pay must be 1.5 times your usual wage, if you typically earn $10 an hour, you should get $15 per hour for your overtime hours. Your employer should calculate your overtime pay in a way that allows you to double-check and ensure you get the full amount owed to you. You should be able to review your time card or other tracking form and calculate the pay due to you.

If you do not believe your employer is paying you overtime as required, you can ask to see your information from the previous pay period or make notes about this information yourself before submitting it.

You can calculate your overtime pay by:

  • Multiplying your regular rate by 1.5 to get your overtime rate
  • Multiplying your regular rate by 40 to get the total of your straight time wages
  • Multiplying your overtime rate by the hours over 40 for your overtime wages
  • Adding your straight time wages and your overtime wages to get the total for the workweek

For example: You make $15 an hour. You worked 50 hours last week. Your overtime pay is $22.50 an hour. Your employer owes you 40 hours of straight-time pay and 10 hours of overtime pay. You should receive $600 in straight-time pay and $225 in overtime pay. Your pay for that week should total $825.

Employers May Try to Avoid Paying Overtime Pay

In some cases, employers accidentally miscalculate overtime. In others, they go out of their way to avoid paying overtime to employees who earned it. Either is wage theft. Some common examples of overtime-related wage theft include:

Misclassifying Employees

Employers often try to claim workers are exempt from overtime when they do not qualify for exempt status. There are strict tests for overtime exemption, and most employees do not qualify. You need to have specific job duties and meet a minimum pay threshold to have exempt status under the FLSA exemptions for professional, executive or administrative employees.  

Tracking Hours Worked Per Pay Period

Your employer should track and compute your hours worked and pay per week, not per pay period. Some employers will try to average the hours worked per pay period to avoid paying overtime hours.

For example, if you work 50 hours one week, they will have you work only 30 the next. This would give you 80 hours total for the pay period. However, this is not legal. Your employer will need to pay you 70 hours at your regular rate and 10 hours at your overtime rate on your next paycheck instead of averaging your time across the two workweeks.

Take Action to Recover Your Pay Lost to Wage Theft

If your employer is not paying you the overtime you earned on time (or at all), we encourage you to talk to an employment lawyer in North Carolina about your case. The employment attorneys at Gibbons Law Groupo, PLLC can help you understand your rights and determine if your employer is committing wage theft.

If your employer owes you any type of unpaid wages, we can take action on your behalf and help you recover the money you rightfully earned.

Call us today at 704-612-0038 for your free initial consultation.