Employers are obligated to pay employees for the hours they work, including when an employee works overtime. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay overtime wages to employees for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours per work week. Minnesota law requires employers to pay overtime wages to employees in excess of 48 hours per workweek.
Overtime wages are mandatory and employers cannot enforce any policy to not pay overtime or enter into an agreement with an employee to avoid overtime payment. Even when an employer fails to approve overtime hours, it must pay an employee overtime wages if the employee actually worked more than 40 hours in a work week. When an employer refuses to pay overtime, fails to pay employees for breaks or “off the clock” work, or does not properly calculate the overtime rate, it has violated the law.
Overtime wages paid by employers must be at least one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay. An employee’s regular rate of pay is calculated by dividing the employee’s total compensation for the week divided by the number of hours worked in that week. Importantly, an employee’s regular rate of pay includes all earnings paid to the employee during the workweek, such as non-discretionary bonuses. All hours that the employee is required to be on work premises, except for meal periods, are counted for overtime purposes. While vacation, holiday, and sick leave hours are not counted in overtime calculations, “off the clock” work must be included. When an employer pays a “flat” or “day” rate for each day of work regardless of the number of hours the employee spends at a jobsite an employee must still be paid overtime for the hours worked over 40 hours in a week.
Certain employees are exempt from overtime wage laws. Some examples of employees who are exempt include executive, administrative, or professional employees who are paid a salary. Many of these employees are misclassified as exempt employees however and a careful analysis by an employment attorney should be conducted to determine if the exemption is proper. Our unpaid overtime lawyers have successfully recovered millions of dollars on behalf of employees in class actions and collective action lawsuits under the Fair Labor Standards Act and related state laws in a variety of cases involving overtime and exemption violations.