What you don’t know can hurt you, at least where wage and hour law is concerned. How many of these overtime facts were you aware of?
- Employees can’t waive their rights.
- The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) says that workers cannot negotiate away their rights. One of those rights is the right to be paid time-and-a-half for overtime. Even if an employee signs an agreement that they won’t ask for overtime pay or that they’ll accept a rate lower than time-and-a-half, they can still sue or file a complaint with the Department of Labor (DOL) to recover the unpaid overtime wages. And you can still find yourself in hot water if the DOL picks you for a wage and hour audit.
- Holiday pay, sick pay, vacation, etc. don’t count toward overtime.
- You don’t count holiday hours toward the forty hours a week overtime threshold, and you don’t include money paid for holiday, vacation or sick days when calculating the employee’s “regular rate of pay.” Overtime applies only for hours actually worked.
- You can’t average time across workweeks.
- With only a few (very few!) limited exceptions — applicable to law enforcement officers, firefighters and certain hospital and nursing home employees — you cannot “shift” overtime hours worked in one week to another week where the employee may have worked fewer than 40 hours. Each workweek stands on its own for the purposes of calculating overtime.
- You can’t average time across jobs.
- If an employee holds more than one job for the same employer, all that worker’s hours have to be totaled together for the purpose of determining overtime eligibility. For instance, if a teacher also serves as the school’s soccer coach, the hours spent on both jobs must be totaled each week to determine if the teacher is eligible for overtime pay that week. There are special rules that apply for overtime calculation if the different jobs carry different rates of pay, so be sure to consult with your employment law advisor to make sure you’re calculating overtime correctly.
- Overtime is calculated using the “regular rate of pay” which may not always be the same as “hourly rate.”
- The regular rate of pay includes such items as the reasonable cost of meals, lodging, and other facilities provided to the employees, nondiscretionary bonuses, on-call pay, shift differentials, and most other forms of compensation not specifically excluded by the FLSA. To be safe, you should check with your employment law advisor to make sure you’re including all the items you should when calculating the “regular rate of pay” for overtime purposes.
No matter what your situation, accurate overtime calculations require accurate time records. If you’re still relying on old-fashioned handwritten timesheets — or worse yet, not formally tracking time at all — or you just want a more modern workforce management solution, check us out. Acroprint offers one of the most complete and varied selections in the industry, so you’re sure to find a time tracking solution that’s ideal for your business.