The Fair Labor Standards Act guarantees workers the right to fair treatment in the workplace, including the right to adequate compensation and protection from being asked to work an unreasonable number of hours without extra compensation. The FLSA gives most workers the right to overtime pay. As of 2011, the federal overtime pay rate is 1.5 times the worker's normal hourly wage, although some states require employers to pay double time for overtime hours.
The federal Fair Labor and Standards Act requires employers to pay time and a half for overtime hours, which are defined as an excess of eight hours in a work day or 40 hours in a work week. Thus, employers do not have to pay double time under federal law. However, if a state's law requires employers to pay double time for overtime hours, employers must follow the state law rather than the federal law.
Regular Work Week
To qualify for overtime pay, workers' regular schedule must not include more than eight hours a day. For example, if an employee regularly works four 10-hour shifts instead of five 8-hour shifts per week, that employee does not qualify for overtime pay. However, if a worker who normally works eight hours a day stays for two extra hours one day, he is entitled to overtime pay. Workers are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours per week regardless of their regular work schedule.
Certain types of salaried employees are exempt from overtime requirements. These employees receive the same salary regardless of how many hours per day or week they work. Employees who work in an administrative, executive or professional capacity are exempt from overtime requirements by federal law and most state laws. Employees in these fields must make at least $455 per week to qualify for exemption from overtime pay.
Federal law does not require employers to pay double time, or any overtime, for working on holidays or weekends. Employers may pay overtime for working on holidays or weekends if they wish. If an employer's written policy states that she pays overtime for working on certain holidays or on weekends, the employer must honor this policy, as it is considered a written contract with the employee. Employers may not have overtime payment policies that discriminate against protected classes of people.