Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, employees must generally be paid an overtime rate for all hours over 40 in any given week. For most employees, this means a rate that is one and one-half times their regular hourly rate. The rules are slightly different for residential employees, sometimes called “live-in” workers, and federal law doesn’t require overtime pay for certain types of employees, who are classified as “exempt.”
These federal rules are, of course, applicable in the state of New York, though New York also requires that business covered by the Miscellaneous Wage Order pay most workers a minimum rate of $13.50, one and one-half times $9, for all overtime hours. States are free to provide stricter overtime pay protections than those required by federal law, so workers need to be aware of both federal and state protections.
For employees, ensuring their employer correctly calculates overtime pay is an important matter, particularly for those who work a lot of overtime. This issue was highlighted in a recent article looking at state employees who have earned a significant amount of income through overtime hours in recent years. Much of the reason for these earnings has been budget limitations and understaffing which raised the need for overtime among reduced staff. This was particularly the case with the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, which paid out $205 million in overtime to employees.
Employees, whether they work for public or private employers and whether they work overtime hours by choice or by mandate, deserve to be properly paid for their work. Those who have been shortchanged by their employer can and should consult with an experienced labor and employment law attorney to have their case evaluated, to determine the best course of action, and to have their rights protected.
Source: New York Department of Labor, Wages and Hours: Frequently Asked Questions, Accessed March 8, 2017.