Fair Labor and Standards Act

Overtime regulations are the federal laws which govern employee rights to overtime pay. Overtime regulations were originally established in the United States in 1938 after Congress enacted the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Generally speaking, FLSA provided overtime regulations making it necessary for employers to pay qualified employees “time and a half” for any time spent working beyond forty hours per week.

There have always been restrictions placed on who is covered by overtime regulations. There are some types of employees that have always been exempt from overtime regulations. Because this federal law was enacted such a long time ago, the nature of work in this country has drastically changed, requiring a revisal of overtime regulations. These updated overtime regulations were intended to extend overtime pay to some workers while clarifying who is exempt from benefits under overtime regulations.

Prior to the modification of the Fair Labor Standards Act in August 2004, employees in many professions had to fall below a particular earning average in order to be covered by overtime regulations. Before amendments to the Act were made, an employee who earned more than $250 per week was not covered by overtime regulations. Currently, any employee who makes less than $455 per week or $23,660 annually is protected by overtime regulations. This change extended overtime regulations protection to almost seven million people, over one million of whom were not previously covered.

There are also a number of types of employees that are guaranteed rights under overtime regulations irrespective of income. Any blue collar worker whose job function includes physical labor is given protection under overtime regulations. Public service officers and law enforcement officials are also extended overtime protections. Emergency and medical first responders are also eligible for overtime pay.

Overtime regulations do not cover a number of types of employees. People who are employed in the following capacities are generally not covered by overtime regulations: executive, administrative, professional, computer, and outside sales persons. Overtime regulations are not provided for these individuals, and any overtime pay negotiations rest solely on agreements made between an employer and their employees.

Compliance with overtime regulations is overseen by the US Department of Labor. This government agency has a complaint and grievance subsection that allows employees to file a complaint regarding their employer’s violation of overtime regulations. This agency is also responsible for investigating these claims and prosecuting violators of overtime regulations. In 2003, the agency helped to recover about $212 million in back wages for employees that had been unlawfully denied benefits.

If you have been the victim of overtime regulations violations, you may wish to speak to a qualified legal expert who can help guide you through the proceedings that may compensate you for the money you are entitled to in back wages.