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What should I know about overtime pay?

The widely accepted workweek for most Americans is 40 hours per week. In some cases, such as people who are paid on a salary basis and some professionals, the expected workweek is often longer. In the case of employees who are paid hourly, 40 hours per workweek is an important milestone because after 40 hours are worked, the pay for the person increases.

How is my pay affected by working more than 40 hours per week?

When most employees work more than 40 hours in a workweek, they are entitled to overtime pay. Overtime pay is 1.5 times your current rate of pay. Generally, that pay must be included on the normal paycheck for the period in which the work was done.

Can my employer have me waive my right to overtime?

No, you can't be required to waive your right to overtime pay. In fact, agreements between employers and employees to waive overtime pay aren't legally valid.

Can I take action to recover overtime pay that wasn't paid?

There is a 2-year statute of limitation on recovering overtime pay. If you can prove that the denial of overtime pay was willful and deliberate, the time limit is increased to 3 years. In order to try to recover denied overtime pay, you must file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division.

It is important for you to take action quickly if you have been denied overtime pay. Make sure you understand your rights and how to seek out the pay that is due to you.

Source: AFL-CIO, "Denied Paid Overtime," accessed June 25, 2015

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