Workers in the United States are fortunate to be protected by numerous state and federal employment laws aimed at ensuring that employees are treated fairly in the workplace. The minimum hourly wage workers must be paid, for example, is determined by state and/or federal law. Those same laws also dictate when an employee is required to be paid overtime as well as how to calculate the overtime pay rate for an employee. Despite these laws both employers and employees are frequently unsure when overtime pay must be paid. For example, are employees entitled to extra pay for week-end, holidays, or night work? To answer that question it helps to have a clear understanding of the overtime rules found in the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA.
The FLSA is where federal laws governing minimum wage and overtime pay are found. According to the FLSA, if an employee is entitled to overtime pay it must be paid at a rate of not less than one and one-half time the employee’s regular hourly rate of pay. The overtime rules in the FLSA dictate that an employee is entitled to overtime pay for all time worked over 40 hours in a workweek. A workweek, for purposes of determining whether overtime pay is required, is a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours consisting of seven consecutive 24-hour periods. A workweek can start on any day of the week and at any hour of the day; however, it must start at the same time and day each week. One common error employers make is averaging hours worked over a two week period if the employer pays bi-weekly. According to the FLSA, however, averaging hours is not acceptable.
Despite what many employees believe, an employer is not required to pay overtime pay for week-ends, holidays, and/or night work unless those hours happen to put the employee over his/her 40 hours for the workweek. While some employers choose to pay employees “incentive” pay for working undesirable shifts such as nights, week-ends, and holidays, an employer is under no obligation imposed by state or federal law to do so. Furthermore, there is no limit to the number of hours an employee may be required to work in a given week unless the employee is a minor. Both the State of Florida and the FLSA impose limitations on things such as the cumulative hours, the number of consecutive days, the hours per day, and how early and late a minor can work.
If you have additional questions or concerns about state or federal overtime pay laws or employment law in general, contact the experienced Florida employment law attorneys at Celler Legal, P.A. by calling 954-716-8601 to schedule your appointment.