Your Questions About Overtime Answered

Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about overtime

How is overtime calculated?

Your overtime rate depends on your regular rate of pay.  Your overtime rate of pay is calculated by multiplying your regular rate by one and a half.  

  • Figure out your regular rate.
  • Multiply your first 40 hours in a week by your regular rate (straight time).
  • Multiply your hours beyond 40 in a week by 1.5x your regular rate (overtime).
  • Add your straight time to your overtime (if this does not match what you are actually being paid, call an employment lawyer).

What is my “Regular Rate”?

Your regular rate of pay is what you are paid for your first 40 hours in any given week.  It should be spelled out for you by your employer, but can get confusing if, for example, you are paid a weekly salary irrespective of hours worked.  A good rule of thumb is to calculate your regular rate of pay by dividing your weekly (pretax) wages by 40 hours.  This formula does not work in every case, but it is a good enough starting point. 

Am I eligible for Overtime?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) divides workers into two categories:  exempt (exempt employees ARE NOT entitled to overtime) and non-exempt (non-exempt employees ARE entitled to overtime).  Employers frequently accidentally or deliberately misclassify their employees as being exempt when they are in fact not exempt from federal and state wage laws.

Generally under New York and Ohio overtime wage laws, all non-exempt employers must pay their employees time and a half (1.5x) pay for each hour spent working in excess of forty hours per workweek.

There is a complicated test to ascertain whether you fall into either category, but below are three general categories of workers that are considered exempt:

Can I Get Overtime if I am Paid a Salary?

Whether or not you are entitled to overtime depends on what you do – not whether you get a salary or not.  But, in any case, the first question is often whether you are truly a salaried employee. If any of these are true you may not be a salaried employee:

  • your pay gets cut if you miss part of the work day,
  • your paid time off is deducted from your leave bank or PTO,
  • you make less money when business is slow,

Even if you are salaried, you are still not exempt from overtime unless you also have exempt job duties. If you believe you have been incorrectly categorized, consult with an overtime lawyer.  Employers who are not sure how to categorize employees should talk with an overtime lawyer as well to make sure they are in compliance with all applicable overtime wage laws.

Why would my employer pay a salary if I am entitled to overtime?

Some employers often intentionally misclassify employees as exempt in order to save money.  Others just make mistakes.  Either way, they are breaking the law.

How can I recover unpaid overtime wages?

If your employer or former employer did not pay you time and a half for overtime and you are not exempt from federal and state wage law requirements, we can fight on your behalf to recover your unpaid wages.  An successful plaintiff in an unpaid overtime case may be entitled to recover liquidated damages, or double the amount you were underpaid, plus fees, costs and interest.

What should I do?

Contact an overtime lawyer.  You can call or e-mail us any time.  You will be speaking to an experienced lawyer well-versed in federal and state overtime laws today.