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Are You Eligible for Overtime in New York?

December 20th, 2017 Christopher Davis

Overtime in New YorkOvertime pay is a common wage violation against workers and many times, the failure to address overtime is not intentional. Employers do not always understand New York overtime requirements well and workers end up paying the price with reduced pay. However, there are some cases where this oversight is intentional and employers should be held accountable.

You may have noticed short paychecks or were told to clock out and keep working too often. No matter your challenges with overtime pay, you should consult with an attorney if you believe your employer has violated wage and hour laws.

When Required

Overtime pay applies to non-exempt employees who receive pay by the hour. Workers who perform their duties more than 40 hours a week should be paid time and a half for each additional hour. For example, if the hourly wage for a worker is $10.00, the overtime wage is $15.00. A workweek of 43 hours pays the base wages of $400.00 plus an additional $45.00 for overtime.

Hours are calculated on a weekly, not daily basis. If an employee works 10 hours on Monday, but six on Tuesday and eight on the remaining days, overtime pay is not required for Monday. However, if that same employee works 10 hours every day Monday through Friday, their employer must pay overtime wages for the extra hours calculated at the end of the week.

Work weeks can begin on any day of the week and do not have to fit in the typical Monday through Friday format. A retail worker’s work week may run from Thursday to Monday, with Tuesday and Wednesday off. Thursday through Monday becomes one work week for the purposes of calculating overtime pay.

Exempt employees receive a salary, but they may also be entitled to overtime pay. Executive, professional, and administrative employees are truly exempt and do not receive overtime pay. However, a salaried retail or clerical worker who would normally be paid hourly could receive overtime pay. In fact, some employers seek to reduce expenses by misclassifying employees as salaried.

Common Errors

Employees miss out on overtime because they do not realize they are entitled to it and employers frequently mishandle it. Common errors that lead to overtime pay violations include:

  • Treating workers as exempt or considering employees independent contractors are frequent ways employers avoid paying overtime. Jobs that are not professional in nature and normally pay by the hour could be subject to overtime even if you are salaried.
  • Forced volunteer hours. There are incidents where an employer tells a worker to clock out but continue working. Many acquiesce because they need their jobs. However, this practice is illegal and you may be able to secure back pay for these incidents.
  • Improperly using “comp” time. Employers may offer additional time off (“comp” time) instead of paying overtime. This works out on a legal basis if the employee is given a choice between the comp time or overtime pay. It is not a legal practice if comp time is the only option offered.
  • Clerical errors. Sometimes, employers do not calculate hours correctly. That also leads to missed overtime wages and if it is not fixed, a worker may be able to receive back pay and damages.

If your employer failed to pay you overtime wages when you were entitled to them, you may be able to recover back pay, damages, and attorney fees. To evaluate your wage claim and secure the amount owed to you, contact the Working Solutions Law Firm today to schedule your free case evaluation.