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Q: I worked 50 hours last week but my employer is refusing to pay me overtime. Is this legal?

A: It depends on the type of work you do.  An employer who requires or permits an employee to work overtime is generally required to pay the employee premium pay for such overtime work. Employees covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) must receive overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek of at least one and one-half times their regular rates of pay. Covered employees are generally those who are not professionals or managers. The FLSA does not require overtime pay for work on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, or regular days of rest, unless overtime hours are worked on such days.

Some exceptions to the 40 hours per week standard apply under special circumstances to police officers and firefighters employed by public agencies and to employees of hospitals and nursing homes. Extra pay for working weekends or nights is a matter of agreement between the employer and the employee (or the employee’s representative). The FLSA does not require extra pay for weekend or night work or double time pay.

There are some jobs that are exempt from overtime and the most common include:

  • Farmworkers
  • Live-in domestic service workers
  • Commissioned employees of retail or service establishments

For a complete list of jobs exempt from overtime and state specific laws regarding overtime please check with the Department of Labor website or call their toll free number (866)-4-USA-DOL (1-866-487-2365).