Overtime at the rate of time and one half times the employee's regular rate is required
for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek for nonexempt employees.
"Comp time" cannot legally be used for nonexempt employees because they must
be receive time and one-half for all hours worked in excess of forty in each workweek. The
one exception is "time-off plans" where an employer with a two week pay period
can provide time off during the second week, at the rate of time and one half, for
overtime worked during the first week.
"Hours worked" is broadly defined. It generally includes all time when an
employee is required to be on duty or to be on the employer's premises even if no work is
Overtime applies only after 40 hours "worked," not to paid time off such as
holidays and vacations. However, paid time off can affect the "regular rate."
The "regular rate" is the hourly rate actually paid the employee for the
nonovertime workweek. It includes all remuneration paid to the employee, including
commissions, regular bonuses and paid time off.
Exempt employees typically fall into one of four classifications, all defined by
regulations and must earn at least $684 per week (equivalent to $35,568 per year for a full-time worker).
Docking salaried exempt employees for partial day absences may result in the employee
being deemed by the Wage and Hour Division to be paid on an hourly basis and therefore to
Under the Fluctuating Workweek (FWW) rule an overtime eligible employee whose hours fluctuate from week to week and who agrees to receive a fixed salary covering all hours of work is entitled to a "halftime premium" for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week - not a "time and one half" premium. Under a recent regulation the DOL clarified that employers may pay bonuses or other incentive-based pay without violating the FWW rule. (29 CFR s. 778.114)
It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee for filing a Fair Labor Standards Act complaint. (29 U.S.C. s. 215(a)(3))
An employer who violates the Fair Labor Standards Act is liable to the employee for the unpaid wages, an additional equal amount as liquidated damages and reasonable attorney's fees. (29 U.S.C. s. 216(b))
If the employer shows to the satisfaction of the court that the act or omission giving rise to the action was in good faith and that it had reasonable grounds for believing the the act or ommision was not a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the court may in its descretion award no liquidated damages or award any amount not to exceed those damages. (29 U.S.C. s. 260)
An action under the Fair Labor Standards Act may be commenced with two years after the cause of action accrued except that a cause of action arising out of a willful violation may be commenced within three years. (29 U.S.C. s. 255(a))