When you think of “overtime wages,” you generally think of time-and-a-half or one and one-half times your regular hourly wage for each hour worked over a traditional 40-hour work week. In 1938, the Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) established this rule and it tends to cover most workers.
However, you may qualify for an FLSA exemption or you may be misclassified as exempt by your employer. If you manage a team of people, for example, you may be exempt from overtime and your employer may pay you a straight salary or salary plus commission. Although an employer may state that no overtime is permitted, an employer cannot invalidate a worker’s right to collect unpaid wages for hours they worked over 40 hours. Simply put, if you’re a non-exempt employee, you’re owed time-and-a-half your hourly rate of pay for each hour worked over 40 in a workweek.
Can employers manipulate work schedules at will and at any time in Florida? Yes, but that doesn’t mean they can do so without constraints. For example, a week has to be classified as seven consecutive days and nights. This prevents employers from averaging weeks together and combining hours from one week with the next to keep the total below 40 hours. Employers in the private sector are not allowed to give “comp time” or free days off in lieu of overtime pay.
Maintaining accurate records and employee schedules is a mandate of the FLSA. Overtime claims brought against an employer can be fairly argued if no records exist. If no records exist, the court uses a good-faith estimation of hours worked over the past two to three years.
Different employee types have different rules under the FLSA. Schedule a consultation with an attorney who can help you get your unpaid wages paid.
For Employees Paid by the Hour
As mentioned above, hourly employees can claim overtime pay equal to one and one-half times their hourly rate for hours worked in excess of 40 in a work week.
Employees under Contract
Employees under contract or paid on per-project-basis can also be entitled to overtime compensation if they’ve worked more than 40 hours in a 7-day period. In situations like these, the rate of pay is determined by dividing your weekly earnings by the total hours worked in that pay period. Then, from that rate, you can determine the amount owed.
Salaried workers’ overtime compensation is similar to an employee under contract. If protected under the FLSA, a salaried employee may be entitled to overtime pay in addition to their regular salary. There are various exemptions which may disentitle a salaried employee to overtime pay under FLSA. The exemptions include, but are far from limited to: :
- Professional exemption (Doctors, lawyers, CPAs etc…)
- Executive exemption (reserved for those who supervise 2 or more employees)
- Administrative exemption (reserved for those who perform office/non-manual work in the employer’s general business operations)
- Outside sales exemption (“inside sales” personnel are entitled to overtime)
Weekend and Holiday Hours
Weekends and holidays don’t automatically qualify as overtime hours unless said hours result in total work hours in excess of 40 in the 7 day workweek. In a 7-day period, it’s critical that you’re paid time and a half for working more than 40 hours. Consult with an attorney to learn more about FLSA protections and your employee rights.
Can I get back pay for overtime hours?
If a current or former employer has denied you overtime pay, you may be entitled to recover twice the amount of the overtime wages owed. However, there are strict time limitations for bringing unpaid overtime claims with the default statute of limitations being two years from the date the unpaid wages were due to be paid. In order to truly understand your scenario, you should meet with a legal expert. The employment attorneys at Calciano and Pierro LLC have the experience and expertise to effectively interpret your rights as an employee.
Learn more about us and call or schedule a free consultation with Mike or Brian today.