When Should an Employer Pay Overtime Wages

Did you know that both state and federal law requires most employers to pay overtime? The overtime wage is also regulated by the law and should be 1.5 times employee’s hourly wage.

The fact that overtime laws contain “exceptions” known as exemptions leave some confused as to when an employee is entitled to overtime.

Are All Employees entitled to Overtime?

Employees who are eligible for overtime are referred to by overtime laws as “nonexempt” employees. Employees who are not eligible for overtime are referred to as “exempt” employees.

What Legally Counts as Overtime?

Nonexempt employees who work more than 40 hours per week are entitled to overtime pay. Overtime law sets the standard for what legally qualifies as “full-time,” i.e., 40 hours in one work week. That means that nonexempt employees are entitled to overtime pay for every hour they work over 40 hours in one work week. While some states also use a daily standard for overtime, Georgia computes overtime solely on hours worked in one work week.

Which Employers Are Required to Pay Overtime?

Most employers are required to pay overtime, but there are some that are not required by law to provide overtime wages. To find out if a company is required to provide overtime wages, first determine if they are subject to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Generally speaking, a business is covered by the FLSA if:

  1. they have $500,000 or more in annual sales or gross receipts or
  2. if the employer engages in interstate commerce (i.e., reaching into another state to do business, which may even include simply mailing or calling into another state).

Which Employees Should Be Receiving Overtime Wages?

If a business is covered by the FLSA, then all employees at the company are entitled to overtime pay unless they fit into one of the predetermined exceptions. Examples of “exempt” (or excepted) employees not entitled to overtime include: executive, administrative or professional employees paid by salary; independent contractors; volunteers; outside sales staff; systems analysts/programmers/software engineers making a minimum of $27.63 per hour; employees at seasonal or recreational businesses; employees at some small newspapers; newspaper deliverers; employees of organized camps or religious/nonprofit educational centers operating less than seven months out of the year; fishing operations workers; seamen; small farm workers; criminal investigators; some switchboard operators; and casual domestic babysitters or companions. Exemptions can be affected by salary/pay rate and/or job duties as well.

If you are a nonexempt employee and you aren’t receiving overtime wages, please get in touch with one of the experienced Atlanta employment law attorneys at Barrett & Farahany today so we can help you get the compensation you have earned.
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