The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay non-exempt employees (hourly workers) overtime pay if an employee works more than 40 hours in a given week. This federal law requires employers to pay these employees an amount that is at least 1.5 times the worker’s standard pay.
This law prohibits employers from withholding an employee’s overtime pay because it’s against company policy to work more than 40 hours per week. FLSA also requires employers to pay overtime wages even if their excess work wasn’t previously authorized. Federal law does protect an employer’s right to discipline their employee for carrying out unauthorized extra work, though.
Can employers offer other leave options instead of overtime?
Federal law also prohibits private sector employers from awarding their workers paid leave or compensatory (comp) time instead of overtime. It is lawful for public sector employees to do this.
The FLSA also prohibits employers from taking an average of the hours an employee works during several weeks instead of on an individual, weekly basis as a way to avoid paying overtime.
How breaks impact overtime
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) defines a break as a rest period of 20 minutes or less. Federal law views rest periods as work hours. Employers must consider this time when determining whether an employee might have worked more than 40 hours and should receive overtime pay.
You have rights if your employer denied you overtime
It’s unlawful for your employer to ask you to work more than 40 hours if you’re a non-exempt hourly employee without paying you overtime. You may be entitled to monetary damages if they do this. An employment law attorney can help you determine if the FLSA applies to you and provide guidance on the next steps that you’ll want to take in your case if it does.