Overtime Wage Laws and Information
Overtime law or “maximum hour” laws require employers to pay an extra amount to employees who work more than 40 hours in a week. The extra amount is equal to one-and-a-half times the employee’s regular wage. Sometimes this extra amount is called “time-and-a-half.”
For example, if your regular pay rate is $10.00 per hour, then your overtime pay rate would be $15.00 hour. If you worked 50 hours this week, you should be paid 40 hours at “straight time” (40 x $10.00) and ten hours at “time-and-a-half” (10 x $15.00) for a total of $550.
While the general overtime rule seems straightforward, overtime laws and regulations are complex and, in a lot of cases, vaguely written. There are numerous exceptions, exemptions, and special cases in the law, leading to a lot of uncertainty for both employers and employees.
Who is entitled to overtime wages? The general rule is that almost everyone is entitled to overtime pay unless they fit within one of the many (and often confusing) exceptions and exemptions. To figure out if you are entitled to overtime pay, you need to answer these questions:
- Is there a law that requires my employer to pay me overtime pay?
- Am I the type of person covered under the law?
- Is my employer the type of employer covered under the law?
- Am I or my employer exempt from the law’s requirements?
We cover these questions and more below.
Am I entitled to overtime pay?
It is nearly impossible to give a quick answer to this question. But, generally, if you are paid hourly, then you are probably entitled to overtime pay. If you are paid on some other basis (like a salary), then you should check with an experienced wage and hour lawyer.
Where can I go for help with my overtime pay issue? The wage and hour law team at Markovits, Stock & DeMarco is equipped to assist both employees and employers with overtime issues.
Click here to Learn more about the law firm of Markovits, Stock & DeMarco or call (614) 604-8759 to speak to a lawyer.
Is there a law that requires my employer to pay me overtime pay?
There is no automatic right to overtime pay. So, in order for you to be entitled to overtime pay, there must be a law granting that entitlement. In the United States, we have the federal Fair Labor Standard Act (the “FLSA” for short) that imposes overtime pay requirements on employers.
The FLSA only covers certain employees and employers. Generally, the FLSA only applies if the employer makes at least $500,000 per year or the employee “engages in interstate commerce.”
Ohio law borrows the FLSA’s exemptions, but expands coverage to smaller employers.
Am I the type of person covered under the law?
In order to be covered under either the federal or Ohio law, you must be an “employee.” The FLSA defines “employee” broadly as “any individual employed by an employer.” There are a number of people not covered by that definition.
Those people are:
- Certain employees of public agencies
- Family members working on a family farm
- Certain volunteers
- Independent contractors
- Students and trainees
Ohio law actually excludes from its definition of “employee” a number of employees who are exempt from the FLSA’s overtime coverage. As a result, you should review the exemptions information below. Basically, if you qualify for overtime wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act, then you qualify for them under Ohio law.
Note: The law is complicated as to who counts as a volunteer, independent contractor, or student/trainee. Be sure to seek legal advice when dealing with these exceptions.
Is my employer the type of employer covered under the law?
The Fair Labor Standards Act covers employers who either (1) do at least $500,000 in business per year, or (2) employ an employee that engages in interstate commerce. Generally, this covers just about any employer except for very small, local operations.
Under Ohio law, the business income threshold is $150,000.
Am I or my employer exempt from the law’s requirements?
If you have answered “yes” to the first three questions (Is there a law that requires my employer to pay me overtime pay? Am I the type of person covered under the law? Is my employer the type of employer covered under the law?) , then the final question is whether there is an exemption under the law for either you or your employer. (Ohio overtime law uses the same exemptions as the Fair Labor Standards Act.)
An “exemption” is a special rule that lets an employer ignore some or all of a law. If you fit within an exemption, then you are not entitled to full overtime wages or maybe any overtime pay at all.
The four most common exemptions are:
- Executive employees
- Administrative employees
- Professional employees
- Outside salespeople
Note: The most common exemptions (often referred to as the “white collar exemptions”) are also the least understood. Federal Regulations attempt to define what those exemptions actually mean and there are a lot of lawsuits trying to do the same thing. Be sure to consult with a wage and hour lawyer if you plan on relying upon or disputing those FLSA exemptions.
The other FLSA overtime exemptions include:
- Seasonal workers (like camp counselors, amusement park workers, etc.)
- Certain employees working in the fishing industry
- Family farmers
- Employees of smaller newspapers
- Switchboard operators
- Certain seaman
- Babysitters or companions to the old or infirm
- Certain criminal investigators/private detectives
- Certain skilled computer workers
- Border agents
- Employees regulated by the Secretary of Transportation
- Certain rail carrier workers
- Certain airline workers
- Outside buyers of poultry, eggs, cream, or milk
- Certain radio station employees of in smaller listening areas
- Certain workers that work at car sales locations
- Certain salesmen who sell trailers, boats, or aircraft
- Delivery drivers who are paid trip rates or other delivery-based payment plans if certain conditions apply
- Certain livestock auctioneers
- Employees working at a country elevator
- Maple sap or syrup processing employees
- Certain workers who transport produce from a farm
- Taxi drivers
- Certain fire and police workers
- Live-in housekeepers
- Certain childcare workers for non-profits if certain requirements are met
- Movie theater workers
- Amusement or recreation workers in national parks/forests
- Some criminal investigators
These exemptions above are all listed in a shorthand way for ease of reference. If you think you could fall under an exemption, check the actual language in the Fair Labor Standards Act (29 U.S.C. 213). Generally, there are specific requirements to be met before you actually fall under a particular exemption.