Most states do not have their own rules and regulations governing overtime pay. Instead, the regulations imposed by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) apply. What does this mean for overtime claims in individual states?

This fact actually makes it less complicated for overtime claims to be made. Under the FLSA, employees are divided into non-exempt and exempt employees. Non-exempt employees are paid 1.5 times their hourly wage as overtime for all hours they work over and above 40 hours a week. The FLSA supersedes any company rule or policy which prohibits the rendering of overtime, or requires prior approval for overtime work. If a non-exempt employee does work beyond the 40 hours a week, he or she is entitled to overtime pay. It should be noted that the FLSA rules on non-exempt employees apply only to “white-collar” or office-based employees. Other types of employees are governed by different state or federal statutes, whichever applies.

Exempt employees are those whose job description and/or wage level renders them ineligible to receive overtime pay. These employees are not entitled to overtime pay because the nature of their work is considered a salaried (monthly-basis) position rather than on an hourly wage. In consequence, they are also exempt from certain rules that govern employees paid by the hour. Employees who fall under this category include:

  • Executives
  • Administrators
  • Professionals
  • Outside sales employees
  • Some computer-related employees
  • Highly compensated employees (annual compensation of $100,000 or more)
  • Blue Collar Workers
  • Police
  • Fire Fighters
  • Paramedics
  • Other First Responders

There are specific criteria for these FLSA exemptions, but can sometimes vary based on an individual’s position and job description. Fortunately, individuals who have been denied the fair and full compensation they have worked for may be able to take action against their employers to recover unpaid overtime wages.