What Are the Mandatory Overtime Laws in Pennsylvania?

In order to stand up for your rights, it’s essential to know the law and what you’re entitled to receive in terms of employment and wages. If you don’t know the mandatory overtime laws in PA, it’s going to be difficult for you to collect what’s rightfully yours. There’s nothing more frustrating than working overtime, thinking that you’re entitled to overtime pay, and then receiving a paycheck that doesn’t accurately reflect the number of hours and type of hours you worked. Many Americans live paycheck to paycheck because wages are abysmally low.  

Withholding overtime pay from workers is often the difference between them going hungry and being able to feed their families. If you believe your employer has been withholding overtime pay from you, Morgan & Morgan is here to help. We have lawyers throughout the state of Pennsylvania, so no matter where you’re located, we’re here to help you. Don’t let anyone take advantage of you. Contact Morgan & Morgan today for a free and confidential case consultation.

State & Federal Laws

There are both state and federal laws that govern overtime pay. It’s essential to be aware of both sets of statutes so you know what your rights are.

Mandatory Overtime Laws in PA

In Pennsylvania, workers who work in excess of 40 hours in one week must be paid at least 1.5x their regular rate of pay – unless they are considered exempt employees or their employer is not required to comply with overtime laws for some reason. For example, your regular rate of pay is $12 per hour. After working for 40 hours in one week, your hourly rate is $18 per hour (1.5 X $12). If you worked 50 hours in one week, you would earn 40x12 + 10x$18, for a total of $660 for the week. 

In Pennsylvania, almost all hourly employees who work more than 40 hours per workweek are entitled to overtime pay. Salaried workers that work more than 40 hours per workweek might be eligible for overtime if they aren’t exempt and if their income is below the federal salary threshold for overtime. The majority of salaried workers who aren’t performing executive, administrative, or professional duties are eligible for overtime.

Federal Overtime Laws

Overtime pay and other wage laws at the federal level are governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Each state also has its own minimum wage, but if the state’s minimum wage is below $7.25 per hour, and the employer is governed by the FLSA, they must pay the higher federal rate of $7.25 per hour. Under the FLSA, Covered, non-exempt workers must receive overtime pay for any hours they work in excess of 40 in one workweek. The overtime rate is 1.5x the worker’s regular rate of pay. Overtime pay is not required when an employee works on a weekend or a holiday. 

Employers Governed by FLSA

The FLSA applies to all employers whose annual sales total at least $500,000 or who are engaged in interstate commerce. While this might sound like a difficult bar to reach, it’s not as restrictive in practice as it seems. The federal law covers almost all workplaces. Courts have routinely ruled that companies who use United States mail carriers to send or receive letters to and from other states for their business are engaged in interstate commerce. Even employers who use the telephone to contact people in other states for work purposes are engaged in interstate commerce. This means that even small businesses that don’t make anywhere near $500,000 in sales each year can still be governed by the federal wage and overtime laws. 

Exempt Employers

If an employer doesn’t engage in interstate commerce or make at least $500,000 per year, they are exempt from the FLSA overtime laws. This means that if the state overtime laws are different than the federal ones, the state ones must be followed. This is true for minimum wage as well. If a state’s minimum wage is $5.75 per hour and a business in that state doesn’t fall under the FLSA, they can legally pay all of their workers $5.75 per hour. Other exempt businesses include small farms. 

What to Do if You Aren’t Being Compensated Appropriately 

If you’ve been working overtime and believe you’re entitled to overtime pay, but your employer refuses to comply, you have options. You can speak with your employer first if you feel comfortable doing so. However, many people don’t want to deal with the situation in this way because they feel it might cause conflict with their employer. It’s also worth noting that many employers withhold overtime pay on purpose. Therefore, simply speaking with them and explaining that you’re entitled to overtime pay may not solve the issue. Employers, especially larger businesses, often try to take advantage of employees as a way to save money. If you find yourself in this position, speaking with your employer is an option, but only if you’re comfortable doing so, and only if you think talks have a chance of going somewhere positive. 

If you aren’t comfortable approaching them, there are other steps that can be taken. Your best option is to contact an experienced lawyer who can assist you. They can help you speak with your employer so they know that you’re taking this issue seriously. If you show up with legal representation right away, your employer is probably less likely to try to take advantage of you. If your attorney is unable to come to an agreement with your employer, they can help you initiate a civil lawsuit so you can recover the compensation that is rightfully yours.

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