Under both federal and state labor laws, employees are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than forty hours in a workweek. These are basic and critical legal rights that are designed to respect American workers and to reward the physical and emotional toll of working long hours.
If you work more than forty hours in a workweek, overtime pay is calculated as time and a half of your regular rate of pay for every hour over forty. In addition, if you work seven consecutive days in a workweek, then you are entitled to overtime pay for the first eight hours worked on the seventh day. And if you work seven consecutive days in a workweek, you are entitled to double pay for every hour worked beyond eight hours on the seventh consecutive day.
You probably noticed that the term “workweek” appears a whole lot in the preceding descriptions. Therefore, to know and exercise your legal rights, it is incredibly important to understand what a workweek is. Under the Fair Labor Standards act, a workweek is defined as a consecutive, fixed 168 hour period, which is seven straight days. Fixed means that it must begin on the same day every week. Significantly, employers are authorized to choose the first day of the workday for their employees. In addition, the following rules apply:
- Employers must be specific and document their designated workweek. This certainty is necessary to ensure compliance with wage and overtime laws. An employer that tries to hide the ball when it comes to designating the workweek is violating the law.
- Employers are generally unable to change their workweek after their initial designation, as it is difficult to change, and invites scrutiny as to their motives for changing it. In other words, it appears shady.
- Employers must have a legitimate business reason for designating a workweek that does not coincide with its employees’ work schedules. In other words, it has been held unlawful for an employer to choose to designate the workweek in order to reduce the amount of overtime it has to pay its employees.
- Employers can have different workweeks for different groupings of employees, and even for specific employees, but they cannot be designed in a manner that the employer avoids having to pay overtime.
Protect Your Legal Rights
Wage and overtime protections are the foundations of employee protections in this country. They establish the minimum standard in which hard working employees must be treated with regard to their wages and their hours. Despite the historic nature of these rights and that they are almost universally understood by employers, many employers still chose to try to take advantage of employees. Contact Moss Bollinger if your employer is depriving you of your hard earned wages. We will force your employer to take you seriously. We work on a contingency basis and collect no fees up front. Call Moss Bollinger at (866) 535-2994 for a free consultation or contact us online.