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Are You Entitled To Overtime Pay?

Topics: Current Events
Image Credit: Pexels / Buenosia Carol
Image Credit: Pexels / Buenosia Carol

When you put in long hours at work, you should be paid what you’ve earned. So it’s essential to understand the existing rules around overtime pay; There are some things you should know about who’s entitled to collect overtime and who isn’t.

It’s important to know your facts when it come to understanding overtime pay. First of all, not everyone qualifies to receive it. Professionals who earn too much, or work certain jobs, are exempt. However, many workers are absolutely entitled to overtime pay. If you’ve ever collected overtime, you know how much of a difference it can make in your total earnings.

Federal and state laws

You should consult both federal and state laws in order understand the overtime rules where you live. Some states have rules that increase workers’ eligibility. Workers who live in one of these states are paid by the standard that would compensate them the most. So, state overtime laws go into effect in this case. Check with your State Department of Labor for more information about where overtime rules stand where you live.

The federal overtime guidelines are contained in the Fair Labor Statistic Act (FLSA). It states that all nonexempt workers are entitled overtime pay “at a rate of not less than one and one-half times their regular rates of pay after 40 hours of work in a workweek.” There is no limit to the number of hours workers can work (or, be required to work) within a given workweek. The act does not require overtime pay for work on weekends or holidays unless overtime hours are worked on such a day. Although these rules, and others, could be enforced through state overtime regulations.

Some workers are “exempt”  from ot rules

The current federal rule entitles workers earning less than $23,660 per year ($455 per week) to overtime pay. All non-exempt workers should receive overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek. If you’re one of these employees, you should be compensated for these hours at a rate no less than time and one-half your regular pay.

However, not all workers earning less than $23,660 per year are entitled to overtime pay. There are several other exemptions. Professional, creative, executive and administrative employees are often exempt to receiving overtime pay through this law. Several other categories of workers are exempt, like fruit and vegetable transportation employees,  babysitters, companions for the elderly, boat and aircraft salespeople, and newspaper delivery workers.

The future of overtime pay

President Obama scheduled some changes concerning overtime pay. They were to go into effect in 2016. This proposed expansion would have raised the threshold for qualifying for overtime pay from $455 per week to $913.

“FLSA overtime rules were established to make sure that all but higher-level workers with control over their time or tasks aren’t working overtime but not getting paid for it,” a report from the Economic Policy Institute on this matter states. “Unfortunately, rule changes in 2004 regarding the “duties tests” used to determine who does relatively high-level work made it a lot easier to deprive many lower-level workers of overtime protection by tweaking their job descriptions. Employer willingness to push the limits of the law have resulted in widespread noncompliance and misclassification. Raising the threshold would return overtime protection to the employees who need it by preempting these malleable duties tests for the workers under the new threshold.”

However, the expansion was struck down by a federal judge in Texas and it will not go into effect. The rule was blocked just two days after the November 2016 presidential election. It was permanently struck down this past August.

Raising the limit would have given 13.5 million workers overtime protection, according to estimates from the EPI. They broke these figures down further, estimating that 4.6 million parents and 9.2 million children would have benefited directly from the expansion.

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