The Department of Labor assumes that all hourly employees are paid overtime if they work more than a certain number of hours in a workweek. The additional hours worked during the week are called overtime.
Overtime pay is the additional pay rate paid for working more than the specific number of hours per week. The federal minimum for overtime pay is one and a half times the regular rate for work over 40 hours per week.
What is the Overtime Pay in Michigan?
Michigan Overtime law (called Michigan Minimum Wage Law) follows the federal minimum set by the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In other words, an employer must pay its employees at least minimum wage (which is currently $9.25 an hour) for all hours worked.
Any hours that exceed 40 in a workweek are considered overtime pay at a rate of one and a half times the regular rate. A workweek is defined as any seven consecutive work days by the Fair Labor Standards Act.
By way of example, an employee who is paid minimum wage and works 45 hours in a workweek would earn $370 of regular pay plus $69.40 (at a rate of $13.88 per hour of overtime) in overtime pay before taxes.
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How is Michigan Overtime Pay Different than Federal Law?
Although Michigan law follows FLSA, it does have significant differences. For one, under Michigan law, a person may only be entitled to overtime pay if the employer has 2 or more employees. This differs from Federal law which requires only that the employer have a gross income of $500,000 regardless of the number of employees.
Further, under Michigan law, unpaid overtime can be collected up to three years from the date the pay was earned (whereas Federal law requires unpaid overtime be collected up to two years after the pay was earned).
What If My Employer Fails to Pay Overtime Intentionally?
If your employer fails to pay you overtime intentionally, the employer can be required to pay what’s known as “liquidated damages”. This means that the employer would have to pay an additional amount of money equal to the amount owed.
Are Any Employees Exempt from Overtime Pay?
Yes. Michigan law exempts anyone employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity who earns at least $250 per week from overtime pay. Pursuant to Michigan law, an executive is defined as an employee whose primary duty is management and who supervises two or more employees.
Michigan considers administrative employees as workers whose primary duty is no-manual work that is directly related to management policies or general business operations or the administration of an educational institution.
How Can I File a Claim Against My Employer for Unpaid Overtime?
An employee can file a claim under both Michigan Overtime Law as well as the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
In Michigan, you can file a complaint with Michigan’s Wage and Hour Program. This state agency will investigate your claim, negotiate with your employer, and may file a lawsuit on your behalf. The three-year statute of limitations also applies to Wage and Hour complaints.
The Wage and Hour Program does not charge a filing fee for overtime complaints (unlike the courts). Under Federal law, you have the right to file additional lawsuits and complaints.
You can also file a civil lawsuit for unpaid overtime. As stated above, there is a three-year statute of limitations for overtime lawsuits. Claims that are filed after three years are dismissed.
Should I Seek Legal Help?
Overtime lawsuits can be complicated. For this reason, it is advisable to contact a skilled employment law attorney in Michigan. An attorney will know the laws related to overtime pay, can assess your chances of prevailing, and can file necessary pleadings and represent you in court if you do decide to file suit.