Workers in the United States are protected by a number of important state and federal laws that apply to the workplace. Among those laws is the federal Fair Labor and Standards Act, or FLSA. The FLSA acts requires, among other things, that covered workers be paid at least the established minimum wage as well as overtime pay at the rate of one and one-half the regular rate of pay for any time worked over 40 hours during a given workweek. Most employers abide by the rules set forth in the FLSA, including the rules regarding overtime pay; however, there are always some employers who do not follow the law. Violations of the overtime rules in the FLSA can also be the result of an employer’s misunderstanding about how overtime is calculated. For example, is overtime calculated by the day or week?
The FLSA requires a covered employee to be paid time and a half for all hours (or portion of an hour) beyond 40 hours in a given workweek. According to FLSA, a workweek is “a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours — seven consecutive 24-hour periods.” When the workweek begins is not important, as long as it begins on the same day every week. Contrary to what many people believe, working more than eight hours in a given day, therefore, does not trigger the overtime pay requirement unless those hours put an employee over the 40 hour workweek threshold. In other words, you could work three 12 hour days and not trigger the overtime pay requirement; however, if you work a fourth 12 hours day you will have worked a total of 48 hours which will trigger overtime pay if all 48 hours are worked within a single workweek
Another common misconception with overtime pay rules is that an employer can average the hours worked over a two week period if the employer uses a two week pay period. According to the FLSA, averaging hours over a two week (or more) period of time is not allowed. For instance, if you worked 46 hours one week but only worked 32 hours the next week you would have worked a total of 78 hours during the two week period. Your employer cannot average those hours and conclude that you worked, on average, 39 hours each week, thereby avoiding overtime pay. Instead, you would be entitled to overtime pay for the six hours in week one that exceeded 40 hours.
If you have additional questions or concerns about the overtime requirements found in the FLSA, or about 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.