The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines compensation rights for employees. Under this law, the payment that a qualified employee receives can increase if they work outside of their normal work hours.
Of course, “work hours” are different for every worker. For some employees, their work hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., consistently, every week. For others, they have a typical schedule, but are often required to work extra days or nighttime hours as part of their normal routine. The schedule of some workers is completely unpredictable, and varies from week to week. These differences make it difficult for the law to create a standard definition of “work hours” throughout all industries, and create discrepancies when regulations need to be created for time worked outside of those hours.
It is important to have a clear definition of what time qualifies as work hours in your role, because you could be entitled to overtime pay or other additional compensation for work performed beyond that time. In general, employees are entitled to overtime pay (one and a half times their wages) for time worked beyond 40 hours in one week. The Fair Labor Standards Act does not define other considerations for overtime wages beyond the 40-hour rule, however, some state laws and workplace policies allow for additional definitions of “overtime.”
At some places of business (especially in setting where a 9-5 schedule is the norm), hours that are worked at night or on the weekends are not considered typical work hours, and could qualify employees to additional pay. Work hours generally include any time that a worker is required by their employer to be at their place of work, at another location performing work responsibilities, or any time that an employee is fulfilling their professional role. Despite the variance from a standard schedule, these hours are still work time and should be compensated accordingly. Employers who do not pay their workers during these “off-the-clock hours” are committing a violation.
Donati Law, PLLC is committed to protecting the rights of workers. If you contact us with concerns about an employment law violation that affected you or someone you know, we will work to educate you on the applicable laws, the treatment you are entitled to, and how we can resolve the dispute.
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