Does My Employer Have to Pay Overtime?

The Wage and Hour Division within the U.S. Department of Labor is responsible for regulating the federal wage and hour laws for covered employers. The division administers the Fair Labor Standards Act, known as the FLSA. The FLSA covers employees who work for covered employers. Employers covered by the FLSA include federal and state government employers, public agencies, labor halls, schools and hospitals, nursing homes and employers who transact interstate commerce or conduct annual sales of at least $500,000. If you are a domestic or household employee, your employer may have to comply with the act.

Because of the dollar threshold, some smaller employers may not have to comply with the FLSA. To provide coverage to otherwise uncovered employees, many states enacted state versions of the FLSA. The FLSA requires covered employers to pay their employees overtime compensation if they work on an hourly basis. If you are an employer covered by the FLSA, you must pay your hourly employees at least time and one-half for work exceeding 40 hours per week. This means that your employer must pay you at least time and one-half of the federal hourly minimum wage after you work 40 hours per week.

What does this mean? This means that if you are an hourly employee, your employer must pay you at least minimum wage. Virginia’s minimum wage is the same as the federal minimum wage. The Virginia Minimum Wage Act requires employers conducting business in the commonwealth to pay their employees at least $7.25 per hour, current at the date of publication. After 40 hours per week, your employer must pay you at least time and one-half for each overtime hour that you work.

However, neither federal law nor Virginia law requires your employer to pay you overtime if you are an exempt employee. Traditionally, exempt employees are those with supervisory, administrative or executive job functions. You may also be exempt from the overtime compensation laws if you work in the airline industry, if you work as a domestic employee, if you work in agriculture or if you work in sales or with computers. If you are an exempt employee, your employer does not owe you overtime compensation, regardless of the number of hours that you work on a weekly basis. Furthermore, if the FLSA does not cover your employer, you probably have no legal overtime compensation claim against him.

Lastly, many Virginians mistakenly believe that their employers owe them overtime compensation if they work more than eight hours per day. Although a few states (like California) require employers to pay overtime on a daily basis, Virginia does not. As such, if you are an adult employee, then even if you work more than eight hours per day, your employer does not have to pay you overtime unless you work more than 40 hours per week.

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