In the United States, workers are fortunate to have a number of important state and federal employment laws that protect them from things such as unsafe working conditions, unfair wages, and, being required to work too many hours. Many of these protections workers now have were hard fought, making it important that they be respected and taken seriously by employers. As an employee, however, you may be wondering “ Can I agree not to be paid overtime? ” The short answer to that question is “no.”
The Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, is the federal act that governs issues relating to wages and overtime for most workers in the United States. According to the FLSA if an employer requires, or even permits, a covered employee to work overtime the employee must be paid overtime wages. Overtime is defined as any time over 40 hours in a workweek. A workweek, in turn, is a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours — seven consecutive 24-hour periods. A workweek does not have to coincide with the calendar week, but may begin on any day and at any hour of the day as long as it begins on the same hour and day every pay period.
Most importantly, the FLSA prohibits an employee from waiving the right to overtime wages. An employee may not agree in writing or verbally to forego overtime wages nor may an employee agree to receive “comp time” or “banked” hours in lieu of overtime pay when the pay is due. Though the concept of comp time may be popular with employees, it is illegal under the FLSA. Comp time, or banking hours, involves an employer keeping track of overtime hours worked and allowing an employee to use them for time off at a later date. Ultimately though, the employee is not paid overtime wages when comp time is used. Therefore, it is specifically prohibited under the FLSA.
There are certain classes of employees who are not subject to the overtime provisions of the FLSA; however, unless you fall into one of those categories you cannot enter into an agreement with an employer that waives your right to overtime pay.
If you have been operating under an agreement wherein you waived your right to overtime pay there is a good chance your employer is violating federal overtime laws. If so, you may be entitled to back pay as well as liquidated damages. If you have additional questions or concerns about overtime wages or the Fair Labor Standards Act, contact the experienced Florida employment law attorneys at Celler Legal, P.A. by calling 954-716-8601 to schedule your appointment.