Employees who are covered under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are entitled to overtime pay. Overtime pay must be paid in an amount that is 1.5 times (one and one half) the regular rate of pay. Employers must pay the overtime rate for any hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Employees who work from home are entitled to overtime pay.

Who Is Not Eligible for Overtime Pay?

Under the FLSA, not all employees are eligible for overtime pay. The FLSA is administered by the Department of Labor, a federal agency. That agency has issued regulations that state who is exempt from (not entitled to the protections of) the overtime pay rule. Exempt individuals include professional, administrative, and executive employees. These individuals also include outside sales employees.

Executive employees include salaried individuals, whose main duties are management of a business or part of a business. These employees, to qualify as exempt, must usually direct the work of others, and have authority or influence in hiring and firing decisions.

Professional employees are salaried employees. Professional employees’ job position requires advanced knowledge in an area of learning. The employee acquires this knowledge through special study (e.g., medical or law school). Professional employees also include those employees whose work is original, is a product of their talent, imagination, invention, and is in an artistic field. A professional employee’s work requires discretion, independent judgment. The work must be mainly intellectual.

Administrative employees are salaried employees. Their main duties consist of performing work related to the employer’s policies and business operations.When these employees perform their jobs, they exercise their own judgment and discretion regarding important matters.

An outside sales employee need not be paid on a salaried basis. Outside sales employees are those employees whose sales are made where a customer works, or at the customer’s home. To be an outside sales employee, an individual must usually be working somewhere other than where the employer conducts business.

Who is Eligible for Overtime Pay?

Employees who are not professional, administrative, or executive employees, and who are not outside sales employees, may be eligible for overtime pay. To be eligible, the employee must work over 40 hours in a workweek. Under the law, a workweek is a fixed, regularly recurring period of time. The recurring period of time is 168 hours, which is seven back-to-back periods of 24 hours.

Certain salaried employees may be entitled to overtime pay. Employees who are not exempt, and who earn less than a certain amount per year (currently, approximately $35,568), may be eligible for overtime pay. The overtime pay is at a rate of 1.5 times the employee’s salary, measured as an hourly rate. To avoid having to pay such employees overtime, employers may raise these employees’s salary to an amount above $35,568.

Can I Obtain Overtime Pay If I Work From Home?

Telecommuting, or working from home, does not affect eligibility for overtime pay. If a non-exempt employee works from home for over 40 hours in a workweek, the employee is entitled to overtime pay.

Any work that the employee works on from home counts towards the 40 hours. If an employee works partially from home and partially at the jobsite, the employer must add up the total time worked at each. If that time exceeds 40 hours in a workweek, the employer must pay overtime pay.

Can My Employer Deny Overtime Solely Because I Work From Home?

Before an employee engages in work from their home, the employee must usually ask the employer for permission to “work overtime.” An employer may not deny an employee the ability to “work overtime” solely because the employee works from home.

In addition, work performed from home must be compensated at the same rate as work performed at the office.

What If I Mostly Work From Home, and I Occasionally Commute to Work?

Employees who primarily telecommute may occasionally have to commute to work. The hours such employees spend traveling to and from work, must be counted as “hours worked.”

If the time spent commuting, brings an employee “over ” 40 hours in a workweek, the employee must be paid overtime.

What If My Employer Does Not Pay Me for Overtime Work?

An employee whose employer does not properly compensate them for overtime work, may file a lawsuit in court. If the employee prevails, the court will order the employer to pay the employee the money they should have received.

Do I Need the Help of a Lawyer With Overtime Pay Issues?

If you believe you are entitled to overtime pay, you should contact an employment lawyer. An experienced employment lawyer can evaluate your situation and advise you as your rights and options. An employer can also represent you at hearings and in court proceedings.