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When is overtime pay owed to an employee?

Most employees in New York state are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours in a week. This is true even if the hours were not authorized in advance or the employee waives his or her right to overtime pay. Residential employees must work 44 hours in a week before being eligible for overtime pay.

Workers are to be paid 1.5 times their regular rate under over time schemes. An employee's regular rate of pay can be determined by dividing the amount of money made per pay period by how many hours were worked. For example, if an employee made $400 for 40 hours of work, his or her regular rate would be $10 an hour. Bonuses, gifts or other payments made on a discretionary basis do not count toward an employee's regular pay rate. In some cases, language in an employment contract may call for a higher rate of overtime pay.

Some employees may be exempt from receiving overtime pay. Examples of exempt employees include camp counselors, part-time babysitters and farm laborers. Interns, volunteers and apprentices may also be exempt from receiving such pay. Those who work for the state or federal government may also be exempt in addition to local government workers.

Employees who feel that they are entitled to overtime pay may wish to bring up the matter with their employers. If that does not lead to a satisfactory resolution, it may be worthwhile to work with an employment law attorney. An attorney may be able to win fair pay for employees who had overtime pay withheld. Employees who were terminated after bringing the issue to the attention of management may also win reinstatement at trial or in a settlement. The information in this article does not constitute legal advice.

Source: New York Department of Labor, "When is overtime pay owed?", October 24, 2014

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