How Much Do I Get Paid for Overtime?

time sheet
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One of the questions employees frequently have is about how much they will be paid for overtime hours. The answer is that depends on what type of employee you are and what federal and state laws you are covered by. In addition, there are some employees who are exempt from overtime pay regulations who do not receive overtime pay.

How Much You Will Get Paid for Overtime

Nonexempt hourly employees covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) must be paid overtime for hours worked over 40 hours per week.

When an employee is entitled to overtime pay, the rate cannot be less than one and one-half times (time and a half) an employee's regular rate of pay. For example, if your hourly rate of pay is $10/hour, the overtime rate is $15/hour.

In some cases, overtime may be paid as double time (working on a holiday, for example). However, in most cases, double time is an agreement between an employer and employee or is provided by state law. There are no federal laws requiring that it be paid.

State Laws

State laws may provide for overtime or double time pay. For example, California requires double time pay based on hours worked. If you are paid double time and your regular hourly rate is $12.55/hour, the double-time rate would be $25.10/hour. In states where an employee is covered by both state and federal overtime laws, overtime is paid according to the standard that will provide the highest amount of pay.

Check your state Department of Labor website for information on overtime rules in your location.

When You Work Nights, Weekends, or Holidays

The FLSA does not require overtime pay for nights, weekends or holidays unless the hours push the worker over the 40-hour threshold.  Many employers have policies in place to add a differential to the wages of workers who work evenings, weekends or holidays, but this is purely voluntary.

How to Calculate Overtime Pay

Here's information on how overtime pay is calculated. When you want to see how much overtime pay you will earn, you can use this Overtime Calculator from the United States Department of Labor to help you determine if you're eligible for overtime pay and to calculate how much overtime you will receive for a typical pay period.

Employees Who Don’t Receive Overtime Pay

Exempt employees are not entitled to overtime pay.  A complex criteria exists in order to determine whether an employee should be classified as exempt.  Most organizations err on the side of classifying jobs as non-exempt if there is significant uncertainty about its status to avoid lawsuits claiming back overtime pay after the fact. 

Professional, creative, executive and administrative employees are usually exempt if they are salaried (versus receiving hourly pay) and receiving more than the equivalent of $455 per week, exercise independent judgment, manage two or more workers and apply advanced knowledge or innovative thought.

 Additional Classes of Workers Exempt from Overtime Pay

  • Aircraft salespeople 
  • Airline employees 
  • Amusement/recreational employees in national parks/forests/Wildlife Refuge System 
  • Babysitters on a casual basis 
  • Boat salespeople 
  • Buyers of agricultural products 
  • Companions for the elderly 
  • Country elevator workers (rural) 
  • Domestic employees who live in
  • Farm implement salespeople
  • Federal criminal investigators
  • Firefighters working in small (less than five firefighters) public fire departments 
  • Fishing
  • Forestry employees of small (less than nine employees) firms
  • Fruit & vegetable transportation employees 
  • Homeworkers making wreaths
  • Houseparents in non-profit educational institutions
  • Livestock auction workers 
  • Local delivery drivers and driver's helpers 
  • Lumber operations employees of small (less than nine employees) firms
  • Motion picture theater employees 
  • Newspaper delivery 
  • Newspaper employees of limited circulation newspapers 
  • Police officers working in small (less than five officers) public police departments 
  • Radio station employees in small markets
  • Railroad employees 
  • Seamen on American vessels
  • Seamen on other than American vessels
  • Sugar processing employees
  • Switchboard operators 
  • Taxicab drivers 
  • Television station employees in small markets 
  • Truck and trailer salespeople

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