How Many Hours Is Overtime? (And Other Frequently Asked Questions About Overtime)

The federal overtime provisions are contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Unless exempt, employees covered by the Act must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek at a rate not less than time and one-half their regular rates of pay. There is no limit in the Act on the number of hours employees aged 16 and older may work in any workweek. The FLSA does not require overtime pay for work on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, or regular days of rest, unless overtime is worked on such days.

The Act applies on a workweek basis. An employees workweek is a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours — seven consecutive 24-hour periods. It need not coincide with the calendar week, but may begin on any day and at any hour of the day. Different workweeks may be established for different employees or groups of employees. Averaging of hours over two or more weeks is not permitted. Normally, overtime pay earned in a particular workweek must be paid on the regular pay day for the pay period in which the wages were earned.

Overtime Weekly Threshold: 40 hours
State Minimum Wage Daily OT Requirements
Arkansas $9.25 per hour N/A
California $11.00 per hour for up to 25 employees; $12.00 per hour for 26+ employees After 8 hours
Colorado $11.10 per hour After 12 hours (or 12 consecutive hours)
Connecticut $10.10 per hour N/A

The Truth About Working Overtime: how much overtime is too much?

Which employers must pay overtime?

Not every employer must pay overtime. To determine if your employer may be required to pay overtime, consider if the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and other regulations, like the federal and state wage and hour laws, apply to you based on your occupation and employment status.

In general, those employers that have $500,000 or more in revenue must comply with the FLSA, however, if a smaller company conducts their business between states, then the employer will likely need to adhere to the FLSA as well. This circumstance is fairly common, as businesses that make or receive phone calls to and from another state, handle production and logistics between states and even send mail to a different state all qualify as completing interstate commerce.

Companies that are local and therefore do not need to comply with the FLSA may still need to pay employees overtime depending on the states labor laws.

How many hours is overtime?

While there are overtime thresholds, some employers may also refer to overtime as any hours an employee works outside of their normal schedule, even if their total number of hours does not exceed 40. Unless an employee has actually worked more than 40 hours as the Fair Labor Standards Act defines it, they are not working overtime and an employer does not have to pay them overtime pay for their work.

An employer may also consider any hours an employee works over eight hours in a day to be overtime, even if the employee doesnt work over 40 hours for the week. In this instance, an employer may choose to pay overtime pay, although they may not have to. This also depends on the states overtime laws.

When an employee has any overtime hours, their employer must pay at least one and a half times the employees regular rate of pay for those hours exceeding 40 hours for the workweek, although this can vary if an employee is exempt. There are both federal wage laws and state regulations, so what employers are required to do for employees, including what they must pay for overtime, can vary. Consider consulting your states labor laws to determine what you can expect, depending on your employment status, if you work overtime hours.

Which employees are eligible for overtime?

Employees who work for a business that has to follow the FLSA and states overtime laws should receive overtime pay, although there may be exceptions. Exempt employees are likely not entitled to overtime, and they may include:

What job duties must an employee complete to get overtime?

There are certain work-related activities that an employee must complete to qualify for overtime, and other situations to be aware of to determine how the Fair Labor Standards Act defines time worked so you can determine the number of hours youve worked and if you should receive overtime pay. Consider the following circumstances and scenarios:

As flexible work schedules become more popular, its important that you feel comfortable with your work arrangements, understand what an employer will compensate for work you complete and know what your employer considers work time. You can discuss questions or concerns you have with your manager or human resources representative so you can receive clarification and adjust your expectations as needed.


Is 12 hours of work overtime?

Employee Overtime: Hours, Pay and Who is Covered. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) states that any work over 40 hours in a 168 hour period is counted as overtime, since the average American work week is 40 hours – that’s eight hours per day for five days a week.

How do you calculate hours overtime?

Overtime pay is calculated: Hourly pay rate x 1.5 x overtime hours worked. Here is an example of total pay for an employee who worked 42 hours in a workweek: Regular pay rate x 40 hours = Regular pay, plus. Regular pay rate x 1.5 x 2 hours = Overtime pay, equals.

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