The Fair Labor Standards Act requires paying employees overtime when they work more than 40 hours during a workweek. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a workweek lasts 168 hours within a seven-day period.
The FLSA does not place a limit on how many hours employees may log during a workweek. The Act, however, does require paying employees time and one-half of their regular pay for each hour of performance that exceeds 40 hours.
Applying a duties test and a salary test for exemptions
Overtime exemptions may exist for salaried professionals such as executive or administrative managers. The Texas Workforce Commission website notes that “white collar” employees may apply two tests to determine if their employers should pay them overtime.
Employees may compare their responsibilities to a “duties test” to see if they qualify for overtime. If an employee spends time performing tasks unrelated to a job’s primary duties, it may require overtime pay. Salaried workers may also compare their paychecks to a “salary test.” The FLSA requires paying managers a minimum salary of $684 per week.
Filing a legal action against an employer for overtime pay
Under certain conditions, salaried employees may file a legal action for overtime pay. The San Antonio Report notes that 31 salaried restaurant managers won a lawsuit entitling them to back wages. The owner of a chain of 19 Texas restaurants violated the law by offering “bonuses” while failing to pay overtime. Employers may not use bonus pay to offset overtime that employees must receive for working more than 40 hours.
When work performance includes spending time on unrelated tasks, salaried employees may have rights to overtime pay. If the hours worked divided by the weekly salary falls below the position’s minimum hourly rate, salaried employees may file a claim for unpaid wages.