How Many Overtime Hours Can You Work?

How Many Overtime Hours Can You Work?

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How Many Overtime Hours Can You Work?

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, there is no limit to the number of overtime hours you can work in a workweek. Unless you are an exempt employee, you are entitled to overtime pay if you are at least 16 years old and work over 40 hours in a work week. It is also important to note that the FLSA does not require your employer to pay you overtime if you work on weekends, holidays, or your off days. However, your employer must pay you overtime for those days if you worked more than 40 hours in that particular work week.

However, despite knowing these overtime laws, many rogue employers do not follow the rules. As a result, some employees work long hours without the additional payment they are entitled to. If your employer has denied you overtime pay and you believe you are eligible for such payment, there are so many things you can do to remedy the situation. This article will discuss the most important things you need to know about overtime pay disputes and some of the options available to you or your loved one.

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  • What Are Some Tactics Employers Use to Avoid Paying Overtime?

    Rogue employers use different tactics to avoid paying their employees the overtime pay they are entitled to. These tactics help such employers save thousands of dollars every year. If you notice any of these tactics in your workplace, it could be the clearest indication that something is wrong.

    Misclassification

    Although employees who work over 40 hours a week are entitled to overtime pay, this rule does not apply to certain workers. For example, in most cases, independent contractors are not considered company employers. For this reason, a rogue employer might misclassify a worker as an independent contractor. As a result, the worker might work overtime without earning the additional compensation they deserve for those hours. 

    So before you sign your employment agreement, it is important that you know which employment category you fall under. And if your employer classifies you as an independent contractor but treats you as an employee, you may have a case against them. 

    But how exactly can you tell if you are an independent contractor?

    Tax Records

    Your tax records can help determine whether you are an employee or an independent contractor. For example, if your employer deducts certain taxes, such as Social Security, Medicare, or unemployment taxes from your wages, chances are you are an employee of the company. This is because you file your own taxes when you are an independent contractor. 

    Wage Structure

    Most employees get paid regular wages, usually the minimum wage or slightly over. On the other hand, most independent contractors make more than the regular wage. This is because they have to file their own taxes, which is where part of the money goes. In addition, independent contractors usually get paid per project. So if your employer pays you per hour, chances are you are an employee, not an independent contractor. 

    Work Schedule

    Employees usually have to stick to a particular work schedule. For example, you may be required to work five days a week and clock in and out at a specific time. On the other hand, independent contracts usually have their own schedule. They then try to align their schedule with the company they intend to provide their services for. 

    A good example is a roofing contractor. Rather than clocking in every morning like an ordinary employee would, the contractor might prefer to work only on a specific day and time. 

    Company Policies

    Employees are required to follow certain company rules and policies. For example, a company might require its employees to maintain a certain dress code while on shift. On the other hand, independent contractors have much more independence. They do not need to abide by the company's rules unless it is part of the contract. 

    Working Off the Clock

    If your employer constantly asks you to work off the clock, chances are they want to avoid paying you for those hours. One thing you need to know is that rogue employers will not explicitly ask you to work off the clock. Rather, they will devise different tactics to use your labor without extra pay. 

    For example, does your employer constantly ask you to drop off mail at the post office after clocking out? If so, this could be one of the tactics rogue employers use to avoid paying overtime. It does not matter even if the nearest post office is 10 minutes away. If you keep dropping off the mail six times a day, that's 60 minutes (one hour) worth of overtime pay.

    Remember, overtime rules require your employer to pay you time and a half of your regular pay. So if you get stuck in traffic running errands for your employer off the clock, you are not only not getting paid for your time but also your resources (gas in this case). 

    Working Before Clocking In

    Some employers ask their employees to work before they officially clock in. As mentioned earlier, employers do not explicitly make such requests. Instead, they will make it sound like a favor. Some will manipulate you into accepting these requests. 

    For example, suppose your employer asks you to help clean part of the building before clocking in. In that case, this could be one of the many tactics rogue employers use to avoid paying overtime. The fact of the matter is that your employer would need to hire someone to do the cleaning, but since you seem too nice, they will use you instead. While it is not wrong for an employer to request such assistance, the main point here is that you deserve to be paid for your time and effort. 

    Not Being Paid for Attending Meetings and Training Sessions 

    Certain professions, such as caregiving, require regular training. As a result, state laws might require employers to provide their employees with additional training, usually every few months. Examples of such training sessions include CPR and First Aid, workplace safety, food handling, emergency management, etc. In addition, employers are required to pay their employees for attending these meetings or training sessions. 

    In most companies, the finance and billing department issues timesheets for employees to fill out during the meeting. These timesheets are then included in the employee's regular work hours. And if they exceed 40 hours in that particular work week, then the employee might be eligible for overtime pay. 

  • What Are Common Reasons Why Some Employers Fail to Pay Overtime?

    Employers fail to pay overtime for various reasons. Here are some of the most common: 

    Not so many employees are aware of the tactics rogue employers use to avoid paying overtime. As a result, they don't usually file such claims. Those that file claims may receive their overtime pay, but this amount is just a fraction of what the employer potentially owes the rest of their employees as overtime pay. In short, failing to pay overtime is an inexpensive way to violate an employee's rights. 

    Some workers are also afraid to claim overtime pay because they risk losing their jobs by doing so. Such workers don't realize that it is illegal for employers to fire them for fighting for what's rightfully theirs. For this reason, many employers get away with not paying overtime.

    Some employers may claim they cannot afford to pay their employees for overtime hours worked. However, this should not be an excuse because the law is very clear on this topic. Any employee, 16 years or older, who works more than 40 hours in a particular work week, is eligible for overtime pay.

    In rare cases, some employers are unaware that they must pay their employees for overtime hours worked. However, ignorance is never an excuse when it comes to the legal aspect of it. So if your employer does not know they need to pay you overtime, this does not mean they do not owe you overtime pay. If that were the case, many employers would simply get away with not paying overtime by claiming that they are unaware of such laws. 

  • What Can I Do if I'm Not Being Paid Overtime When I Should?

    When you discover that your employer has not been paying you overtime as they should, it is important to know what to do. Here are a few tips to guide you:

    Discuss the Issue With Your Employer

    The first thing you need to do is to bring this issue to your employer's attention. As we mentioned earlier, one of the reasons your employer is not paying you overtime could be because they are genuinely unaware that you worked overtime. This could be due to a computing error or a mistake on your side. 

    For instance, some companies have electronic time tracking systems that track when employees clock in and out of their shifts. The tool then automatically calculates the total number of hours worked and the salary owed for that work week. But the results won't be accurate if you forget to clock in or out as you should.

    The same applies if your employer keeps track of work hours via paper timesheets. If you fail to input the correct hours for that workweek, chances are you will not be paid overtime. But your employer should be able to reimburse you for the unpaid overtime when you discuss this issue with them.

    File a Complaint

    Suppose you raise the issue with your employer, and they do not do anything about it or claim that they do not owe you overtime pay when they actually do. In that case, you might need to file a complaint with your state's department of labor. The department will investigate the claim, and if they find out that your employer actually owes you overtime pay, they will order them to pay what they owe or face certain consequences. 

    Contact an Attorney

    The other option, which is highly recommended, is to hire a labor and employment dispute attorney. One of the many benefits of hiring an attorney in these situations is that they will always try to maximize your claim. In other words, they can help you obtain compensation for more than what your employer owes you as overtime. 

    According to the FLSA, an employee can recover double the unpaid overtime, including the legal costs of pursuing the claim (attorney fees). However, the amount of unpaid overtime you may be able to recover varies depending on the state you live in. 

    For example, in Massachusetts, employees who file a successful overtime claim can recover up to three times the amount owed. In addition, they can track back the payment up to three years prior to filing the complaint even without proving that their employer willfully violated overtime laws. 

  • Where Can I Find the Best Wage Dispute Attorneys?

    If you are looking for the right attorney to represent you in such a case, Morgan and Morgan is the best law firm to contact. But why Morgan and Morgan and not any other law firm in the United States?

    The answer is simple—Morgan and Morgan files the most labor and employment litigation cases in the country. This alone is enough proof that you will be working with individuals with experience handling these kinds of cases. 

    Besides, overtime laws are complex and vary from state to state. For this reason, you want to ensure that you hire an attorney who understands jurisdiction-specific laws. At Morgan and Morgan, we have an army of over 800 attorneys ready to fight for you. 

    And it doesn't matter if your employer is a big player in the industry; we have taken down some of the largest and richest companies in the United States. If your employer refuses to pay you overtime, they should not get away with it. You deserve to be paid for your hard work. 

    Do not let these companies get rich at your expense. It is time to fight back. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation

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