Ask the Lawyer: Do I Need to Pay Overtime?
IF EMPLOYEES WORK AN AVERAGE OF 40 HOURS A WEEK OVER A TWO WEEK PERIOD, DO I NEED TO PAY OVERTIME?
QUESTION: Workers at my company have the option of earning every other Friday off by working 44 hours one week, and 36 hours the next, with paid overtime for hours over 80 in the two-week period, as required. An acquaintance said this method of paying our workers is a violation of Department of Labor requirements. Is it? Our employees love the long weekends every other week; I’d hate to stop offering it to them!
ANSWER: You may have a problem: Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, hourly workers are entitled to overtime pay for any hours worked in excess of 40 per week, 29 U.S.C. 207(a)(1). That means, if they work 44 hours one week, they must be paid for four hours of overtime, even if they only work 36 hours the next week. If you pay your workers on a salary basis, your method of payment passes muster.
Note, there are some limited exceptions to the FLSA for some government workers, health workers, and those working on a government contract, among others.
Your method of calculating overtime – based only on work in excess of 80 hours in a two-week period — also runs afoul of the FLSA. Employers must pay workers time and a half when they work over 40 hours a week.
You may wish to consult with an attorney, to see if your company qualifies for an exemption to the FLSA. The penalties for violating the FLSA include fines, damages and even imprisonment!
The lawyers at GWINN TAURIAINEN PLLC are experienced attorneys and are happy to answer your questions. Give us a call for a free initial telephone consultation about your legal needs. For consideration of your questions in our web column, please submit your inquiry on the “Contact Us” page of our website at www.gwinntauriainenlaw.com.
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GWINN TAURIAINEN PLLC, is a Troy based law firm representing clients from Warren, Sterling Heights, Ferndale, Royal Oak, Oak Park, Oakland and Wayne Counties and all of Southeast Michigan
ASK THE LAWYER
By: Daniel A. Gwinn, Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
GWINN TAURIAINEN PLLC
901 Wilshire Drive, Suite 550
Troy, MI 48084
(248) 247-3310 facsimile