Why You Need to Know the Overtime Definition

Overtime is a significant aspect of labor laws that impact the incomes of most Americans in Florida, Georgia, and across the country. If you are employed, it is important to have at least a basic understanding of your rights as a worker, and the overtime definition. It may help you determine whether you qualify for additional overtime pay, no matter what your employer may be telling you.

There are 28 states across the nation that are so-called “Right to Work” states. Among other things, this means workers cannot be “forced” to join a labor union. In most cases, however, right-to-work laws actually work against the workforce. It means an employer is not required to have a valid reason for a dismissal. It doesn’t, however, mean you are giving up your rights to overtime pay.

Any retaliation against an employee who brings up the issue of overtime is unlawful; if you feel this is the case, contact an employment law attorney for legal representation immediately. When it comes to overtime, Florida follows the rules of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This means Florida overtime laws defer to those enforced on a federal basis.

Labor laws are extensive and often complicated. To get a better understanding of this single aspect of these laws, one should first understand the definition of overtime.

Overtime Definition

Overtime is broadly defined as time worked at your job that is beyond the scope of your regular work schedule. This overtime definition, however, doesn’t reflect the nuances and exceptions that can affect a worker’s ability to collect overtime pay. To make it more challenging, workers and employers often use the term in different contexts.

What is Overtime?

Overtime, as defined by the FLSA, is time worked beyond the traditional 40 hours in a 7-day workweek. Pay for these excess hours is regulated to be 1.5 times the hourly rate. This is the law. So, for example, if a worker is paid $12 per hour and the employee works 48 hours in a week, the gross pay would amount to 40 hours at $12 per hour ($480) plus 8 hours at the overtime rate of $18 hourly ($144) for a total of $624. Keep in mind, labor laws in force in Florida do NOT include working weekends or holidays, unless doing so would push the employee’s hours over the 40-hour limit in a 7-day period.

While this may seem straightforward enough, there are classifications of exempt employees and job categories which may not qualify for overtime pay. In addition, employers may use the term “overtime” beyond the definition of the FLSA definition. For example, an employer may ask an employee to work beyond an 8-hour shift. This would qualify for the overtime rate only if it results in more than 40 total hours in the 7-day workweek.

Am I Eligible for Overtime?

Many people rely on their employers to abide by FLSA regulations and to do so fairly. The fact is that some employers will interpret the regulations as loosely as possible. Sometimes, they do so intentionally, and at other times, they may simply misunderstand the rules.

Positions Exempt from Overtime

However, there are some legal exemptions employers can take advantage of. These include categorizing employees into “exempt” positions:

  • Executive positions
  • Professionals
  • Administrative
  • Outside or commission-based sales
  • Some computer-related positions.

There are also overtime exemptions for employees that are in white-collar positions that are salaried and are being paid more than the minimum weekly salary of $455 a week. Keep in mind that while employers may attempt to use a title to prove that an employee does not have to be paid overtime, a title alone does not exempt an employee from overtime pay.

If you are asking yourself, “am I eligible for overtime,” be aware that overtime pay is an added labor cost to your employer. Some employers will try to avoid paying overtime by offering employees compensatory or “comp” time instead. The Department of Labor, however, states that private employers can’t use time off as a replacement for overtime.

How Does Working “Off the Clock” Affect the Definition of Overtime?

Some employers may expect, or even ask, that employees put in extra hours “off the clock.” This may include work that is performed off-site, such as a trade show or volunteer work. Other common forms of “off the clock” work that qualifies for compensation include:

  • Completing work-related paperwork
  • Pre-work activities like setting up for an event or preparing a restaurant to open
  • Post-shift activities like cleaning up or even dropping off work-related items “on your way home”
  • Work-related meetings with management
  • Work-related training
  • Work-related activities done from home.

This is not acceptable for non-exempt employees and falls outside the definition of overtime. Employers are required to track hours of all time-paid employees and to provide proof of overtime payments. Even ambitious employees who may not have a problem with these extra duties may ultimately change their minds. It is a good idea to keep track of all “off the clock activities” you perform for an employer. Often claims will be paid based on these good-faith estimates that go back as far as three years. This can result in significant payments. For more details on how the process works and to calculate potential overtime pay you may have coming to you, we invite you to learn more about overtime and wage violations.

If you feel you may qualify for overtime pay, you should seek legal representation from a firm which is well versed in labor law — Feldman Williams, seeking and achieving justice for workers.

Get the Compensation You Deserve

At Feldman Williams, we have more than 20 years of experience getting justice for workers in Florida and nationally. This includes the pursuit of overtime pay for overtime hours. If you feel you have unpaid overtime due you, have had your overtime hours miscalculated or have past-due or unpaid compensation, please contact our Tampa overtime pay lawyers. We can also assist you if you feel you have been wrongly terminated or are being misclassified as a contract worker. If you are unsure about the pay you deserve for the hours you worked, please use our form to get a free assessment of your pay.

Get the compensation you deserve, including pay for your “off the clock” time, with a call to Feldman Williams at 877-946-8293. With offices in Jacksonville, Tampa, and Atlanta, we protect workers across the nation. We’ll be glad to discuss your case.