Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), covered non-exempt employees must receive overtime pay for every hour that exceeds 40 hours in a standard work week.

This weekly overtime standard, as its name suggests, only applies to hours worked in a week. Even if a non-exempt employee works a 12-hour shift one day, they will not be paid overtime if the rest of the hours worked that week do not exceed 40 hours.

Some states, such as Nevada, also have a daily overtime standard. In the above 12-hour shift example, the employee would be entitled to four hours of overtime—even though they did not exceed 40 hours in the work week.

What is Overtime Pay?

Under federal law, overtime pay is required to be paid at a rate of “time and a half” of the employee’s regular salary. This means that if a person is normally paid $20/ hour, her overtime hourly rate would be $30/hour (20 x 1 1/2).

For example, if this employee worked 50 hours last week, at a regular rate of $20/hour, her net paycheck would be $1100. This includes $800 of regular rate pay ($20 x 40 hours), and $300 at an overtime rate of pay ($30 x 10 hours overtime).

The above examples are not applicable to states that have a daily overtime standard. This would be calculated by any hours that exceed eight in a day.

What Types of Employees are Exempt from Overtime Pay?

There is an exception to overtime pay, and this applies to employees who are exempt. Exempt employees are not entitled to overtime pay, and this category of workers include the following employees:

  • Executive, administrative, and professional employees who are paid on salary;
  • Independent contractors;
  • Volunteer workers;
  • Some computer specialists who are paid no less than $27.63 an hour;
  • Seasonal employees, such as those employed at ski resorts, fairs, or amusement parks; and
  • Outside salespersons.

There are other exempt employees, but the most common are the so-called “white collar” workers. Employees who make more than $100,000 and do not perform manual labor are also included in the exemption.

Can My Employer Withhold My Overtime Pay?

If you are an employee that is qualified for overtime pay, has gained overtime pay, and your employer refuses to pay it, then you have a right to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Read more about it here to learn the steps you need to take and your rights when it comes to Employers Withholding Overtime Pay.

Should I Talk to a Lawyer?

If you are having issues with your employer and overtime pay, you should contact an employment lawyer. An experienced attorney will be able to advise you of your rights, and help determine how much overtime pay that you may be entitled to receive. Your lawyer will also assist you with your claim, while representing your best interests throughout the process.