How do I calculate my overtime pay rate?

If you regularly work over forty hours per week, you will want to know, “How do I calculate my overtime pay rate?” Determining what your employer owes you in overtime is crucial and can prevent you from getting exploited at work. According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), employers failing to pay overtime premiums could cost America’s working people billions of dollars every year. Moreover, many hardworking individuals and families could face poverty due to illegal wage theft.

Every day, unscrupulous employers steal their workers’ wages. However, if you are affected, you can fight back. Morgan & Morgan could help you reclaim the overtime pay that you are owed and more. Our dedicated labor and employment lawyers are ready to fight for America’s hardworking employees. Contact us now to determine in a free case review whether you qualify for compensation from an employer.

How Do You Calculate Your Overtime Pay Rate?

The overtime pay rate for hourly employees is calculated by multiplying the employee’s regular hourly rate by 1.5 (time-and-a-half) and then multiplying the sum by the hours of overtime worked.

Suppose an employee earning $10 an hour worked a total of 45 hours in one work week. The overtime calculation to determine their pay for five hours of overtime work is as follows:

$10 x 1.5 = $15 (overtime pay at time-and-a-half)

$15 x 5 hours overtime worked = $75

Therefore, the employee working five hours overtime is entitled to $75 in addition to their regular weekly wage of $400. Therefore, their total pay for 45 hours worked would be $475.

Did Your Employer Classify You Exempt From Overtime?

Some employers misclassify workers as exempt from overtime pay to save themselves money. Receiving a salary rather than an hourly wage does not necessarily exempt you from overtime pay. However, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the following types of positions are generally exempt from receiving overtime pay:  

  • Administrative
  • Executive
  • Professional
  • Outside Sales
  • IT

However, job titles alone do not determine which employees are exempt. According to the Department of Labor (DOL), exempt employees must also be paid on a salary basis and no less than $684 per week.

How Employers Avoid Paying Overtime

Paying overtime at time-and-a-half can be expensive for employers. Therefore, some have found ways to skirt labor laws and deny employees their rightful pay. The tricks employers use to avoid paying overtime rates can include:  

Declaring Workers Exempt

An employer declaring you overtime exempt does not necessarily mean you are. You could still qualify for overtime pay, regardless of whether you receive a salary or are in a managerial or supervisory role.

Misclassifying Employees as Independent Contractors

Freelancers and independent contractors are not entitled to overtime pay, as they typically invoice clients and charge their own fees. However, some employers deliberately misclassify employees as independent contractors to avoid paying overtime, benefits, and payroll taxes. If you are a misclassified employee, you could be entitled to damages, and your employer may face steep penalties.

Miscalculating Overtime Pay

An employer must generally pay an hourly worker overtime at one-and-a-half times their regular hourly pay rate for hours worked over 40 in a work week. However, to arrive at your regular hourly pay, your employer should include all applicable income, such as your base hourly wage, bonuses, commission, and other income you regularly receive. Since state laws can differ on overtime pay regulations, you should seek legal advice if you suspect your employer is shortchanging you.

Failing to Count All Hours Worked

An employer may fail to count all your hours as work, depriving you of your overtime pay. Any time spent at work, even setting up your shift or cleaning after your regular hours, should count as work. Other work time can include:

  • Being on-call
  • Certain breaks
  • Work meetings
  • Attending to work calls and emails when at home

Employers could cheat you out of your overtime pay with various other tactics. If you do not know how to calculate your overtime pay rate accurately, our labor and employment lawyers could help. Moreover, if your employer withheld overtime pay from you, you could be entitled to compensation. We can assess your case and move forward with a claim on your behalf.

What are Your Next Best Steps if an Employer Refuses Overtime Pay?

If you suspect that your employer is not paying you as they should, you could raise the issue with your employer directly in the first instance. Perhaps they made a genuine mistake and will agree to pay you the outstanding funds. However, if the matter of unpaid overtime remains unresolved after talking to your employer, you could have the following options:

  • Filing a complaint with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
  • Contacting a labor and employment attorney to file a lawsuit against your employer

Morgan & Morgan Is Here for You

Unfortunately, workers may hesitate to contact an attorney, worried about the potential cost. However, Morgan & Morgan litigates employment claims with a contingency fee agreement, meaning you pay nothing out of your own pocket. We only get paid when we win, and you receive compensation. Our determined labor and employment lawyers can stand up for your rights and:

  • Clarify your legal options
  • Calculate your damages such as missing overtime pay
  • Hold your employer liable for violating state and federal labor laws
  • File a lawsuit against your employer and take your case to trial if necessary
  • Negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf

Our wage and overtime attorneys have helped countless workers receive the pay they deserve. If you have been unfairly compensated, we could be by your side every step of the way and hold your employer accountable. Contact us now to discover whether you are owed back pay and other damages from an employer.