Overtime Policies | Mann & Elias

When Must an Employer Pay Overtime?

The average American work week is 40 hours per week, but what happens if you work over that amount? Understanding the overtime pay in relation to your job position is key in verifying that your employer is paying you fairly. 

Overtime laws require that employers pay employees a wage rate that is greater than their regular rate for any overtime hours worked. The designated threshold, recognized federally and by most states, is 40 hours per workweek. Some states require that employees be paid overtime for any hours worked beyond eight in a single workday. Some employers will limit the amount of overtime hours their employees can work to just a few per week. This way, they keep their expenses down while remaining within the arm of the law. 

Any hours worked over the overtime amount should be paid at an overtime rate, which is almost always 1.5 times the regular hourly rate. For example, if you make $8 an hour, any overtime that you put in should earn you $12 per hour.

If you feel your employer has not paid you lawfully for any overtime you worked, you may have a case for overtime dispute lawyers Los Angeles like Mann & Elias. When you meet with your wage and hour attorneys Los Angeles, you will tell them about your work schedule and the classification of your position.

Who Gets Overtime


Overtime can be difficult to calculate if you are paid a yearly wage, such as $40,000 a year. The key to knowing when you’re eligible for overtime is by looking at your status as an employee. The FLSA exempts several classifications of workers from overtime provisions. You may have seen the terms “exempt” and “non-exempt” before. Understanding these terms will give you a blanket understanding of whether or not a position receives overtime pay.

  • Exempt - This means that employees are exempt from overtime pay. Employers must pay a worker a solid salary rather than an hourly wage for a role to be considered exempt. Examples of exempt positions are executive, supervisory, and professional roles. Restaurant managers and the typical desk job are two examples of exempt positions.
  • Non-Exempt - Employees who fall within this category must be paid a minimum of 1.5 times their usual hourly rate for any overtime hours worked. This also means that the employee must be paid at least the federal minimum wage for each non-overtime hour worked.

These two kinds of classifications are seen equally when it comes to tax season. There is no difference in how exempt and nonexempt employees are taxed. The only deciding variable is which tax bracket the position’s pay falls into, but when it comes to wages earned during the regular workweek or through overtime, all pay is considered “earned income.”

Starting January 1, 2020, the Department of Labor announced a major change to salaried employees’ eligibility for overtime. The new minimum salary to be exempt from overtime pay is now $646 per week, or $35,568 per year. Any employee who earns less than that amount must be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a week. As for the state of California, they set the threshold for overtime exemption at $49,920 for companies with 25 employees or less and $54,080 for companies with more than 25 employees. 

Depending on your salary, you may have a new case for overtime pay. Even with the new rule, there are still exemptions based on job type and company, which is why you should meet with an unpaid overtime lawyer Los Angeles before pursuing your case.

Which Companies Must Pay Overtime 


The vast majority of American companies must pay overtime, and this is determined by whether or not the company is covered by the FLSA. A company covered by the FLSA would have at least $500,000 in annual sales. If the business makes less than that, employees must still get overtime if the business engages in interstate commerce, meaning that they provide services or buy or sell products across state lines.

Contacting a Wage and Hour Attorney


If you're not receiving overtime pay for which you feel you're legally entitled, try opening the issue up for discussion with your supervisor or your company’s human resources department. If your company still refuses to pay you legally, you will need a lawyer to sue an employer for unpaid wages. Mann & Elias is composed of wage and hour attorneys Los Angeles who understand the different facets of employee exempt status in relation to federal and state overtime laws. Scheduling a consultation will give you a clear idea of how to win back your unpaid wages.

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