Overtime Provisions

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The FLSA requires that an employer compensate covered, nonexempt employees who work in excess of a maximum number of hours in an applicable workweek or work period on a time-and-one-half basis for all hours in excess of the number of allowable hours. For most employees the relevant work period is the seven-day workweek, and the maximum number of hours is 40. However, a longer work period may be used for public safety employees and hospital and similar employees if the local government follows specific procedures established by the FLSA. If these specific procedures for establishing longer work periods are not followed, all local government employees covered by the FLSA, including firefighters and law enforcement officers, must be compensated for hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a seven-day period.

Many employees work only a part-time work schedule (e.g., 15 to 20 hours per week).  Other employees work full-time but work 35- or 37½-hour workweeks. In such instances, overtime pay under the FLSA is not required to be paid to employees until they work in excess of 40 hours in a workweek. (Note, however, that the employee may be entitled to pay at the regular rate for any additional hours up to 40, depending on the employer’s established policy.)

There is no limitation under the FLSA on the number of hours employees may work in any work period. They may work as many hours as they and their employer see fit, as long as they are compensated in accordance with the FLSA’s requirements. The FLSA does not require overtime compensation for hours in excess of eight per day (except under the special provisions relating to hospital and similar employees) or for work on Saturdays, Sundays or holidays.

It is not required that overtime compensation be paid weekly. The general rule is that overtime pay earned in a particular work period must be paid on the regular payday for the period. If the correct amount of overtime pay cannot be determined until sometime after the regular pay period, the employer must pay the overtime compensation as soon thereafter as practical, but not later than the next regular pay period.