Frequently Asked Unpaid Wages and Overtime Questions

Have questions about your legal matter and are afraid to ask? If so, head on over to our FAQ section in which we tackle a variety of important topics that matter to you. Find answers to questions regarding car accidents, medical malpractice, unpaid overtime, and a variety of other legal subjects that may be affecting you. 
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  • What is Chinese overtime?

    Some employers use the fluctuating work week method to pay employees. This is also known as the "variable workweek" or "half-time" method. Some courts even refer to it as "Chinese overtime." The sad effect of this law is that you end up making less per hour the more you work. The bad news is that this is a legal way to pay employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

    Most employers make mistakes when applying the fluctuating work week and, as a result, end up owing back wages to their employees. One slip up can invalidate the entire pay structure for all other weeks worked.The good news: finding your company's mistake is fairly easy and with one phone call to our employment attorneys you can find out for free if you are owed wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act. You can also order our free book to learn more about wage and overtime laws.

    Article: How the Fluctuating Work Week, or Chinese overtime, undermines your pay scale.

    Article: The more I work, the less I make per hour. How can that be legal? 5 ways your employer might be violating the fluctuating work week or "Chinese overtime" law.

  • How do I calculate my overtime pay?

    If you are a non-exempt employee and you work more than 40 hours in a workweek, you are eligible to receive one and one-half times your regular pay rate for every hour over 40.  For hourly paid employees, if you are paid $10 per hour and work 50 hours in that week, then you are owed $10 for the first 40 hours, and $15 for each of the hours over 40.    

    For employees on salary, then you have to convert your salary into a regular hourly rate before calculating your overtime pay. For example, if you are paid a salary of $500 per week and work 60 hours per week, then you are regular rate of pay is $8.33 ($500/60).   So, you should be paid $8.33 for the first 40 hours and $12.50 per hour for all hours over 40.  In this example, you would be owed an additional $4.17 for each overtime hour worked.  

    Many employers incorrectly label employees as exempt and do not pay them overtime. This could cheat you out of hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year. You can order our free book, The 10 Biggest Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Wage and Overtime Claim, to learn how you can recover your back pay.

    Read more: Should bonuses be included when calculating my overtime? 

  • I worked during Daylight Savings Time but my employer said he is not required to pay me for the extra hour worked. Is this true?

    The Department of Labor (DOL) has regulations for Daylight Savings Time and how it affects your paycheck. It states that if you work that extra hour when the time change ends it is compensable time.

    The Fair Labor Standards Act requires your employer to pay you for all hours you work. If your emplopyer does not pay you minimum wage or overtime contact our employment lawyers for a free review of your job duties to find out if you are owed money under the FLSA.

    Has your boss told you that your extra hour is not paid? Call our wage lawyers at 888-449-2068 for a free case review. You can also send us a contact form to tell us about your case.

    How to make sure your paycheck reflects Daylight Savings Time.

  • How do I prove the hours I worked if my employer did not issue pay stubs or keep track of my hours?

    Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the burden of proof rests on the employer to provide accurate records of all hours worked each workweek by nonexempt employees. If an employer fails to keep accurate records, employees are generally able to provide a good faith estimate of hours worked.

    Employers also must pay the appropriate wages and overtime if a non-exempt employee works more than 40 hours a week.
    About half of our clients have no written proof of hours worked, but we are still able to successfully pursue their wage and overtime claims under the FLSA.

    Watch video: Unpaid overtime claim can be filed without record of hours

  • I am a hotel housekeeping employee and I am only paid for 40 hours, even though I work almost 60 hours a week. Is this legal?

    No, this is usually not legal. If you work in a hotel in the housekeeping department you are generally considered to be an hourly-paid, non-exempt employee. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, if you are a non-exempt employee you must be paid an overtime premium for every hour over 40 that you work in a workweek.

    This applies to all non-exempt employees under the federal wage laws.

    Many employers take advantage of low-wage workers and deny them their overtime pay, or even minimum wage. Wage theft occurs in all industries and if you believe you are not being paid what you are owed, you can call our employment lawyers to determine if you have a possible wage claim.

    We have helped hundreds of employees nationwide to recover their back wages, including: hotel employees, wait staff, kitchen employees, tipped employees, service technicians, and more.

    If you are a hotel employee and you are not paid overtime contact our office toll-free at 1-888-449-2068 to start a free case review today.

    Read about a recent case in the news: Housekeeper sues Holiday Inn for overtime pay

  • If I'm paid on commission, do I still get overtime pay?

    If you are a commissioned employee working for a retail or service establishment, you might be surprised to learn that your employer is still required to pay you overtime pay when you work more than 40 hours. The only way an employer can get out of this duty is by proving that you fall under the commissioned exemption. This is a very difficult test to prove and your employer bears the burden to prove it; that is, you start with the right to overtime and only when your employer proves otherwise do you lose that right. Unless all three conditions of the exemption are met, the commission exemption is not applicable, and overtime premium pay must be paid for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek at time and one-half the regular rate of pay.

  • How do I know if I am exempt or non-exempt from overtime pay?

    Most employees (86% of all U.S. employees according to an estimate by the Department of Labor) are eligible to receive overtime pay. Overtime pay must be paid to non-exempt employees at a rate of one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. But this question calls for a more detailed answer than can be provided in a simple FAQ format. It is usually necessary to review your job duties and how you are paid in order to determine if you are eligible to be paid overtime.

    There are certain exemptions that apply to some executive, administrative, and professional employees, but there are strict guidelines under the Fair Labor Standards Act that determine an employer's valid application of exemptions.

    If you are not certain you are exempt you can contact our office so that our employment lawyers can review your case for free.  For more information, you may also look at the articles we've written on your particular job or download a free copy of our book: The 10 Biggest Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Wage and Overtime Claim.

    Read more: Do you work over 40 hours in a work week? Learn the wage laws for exempt and non-exempt employees

  • Can my employer give me "Comp time" instead of overtime pay?

    Some employers will give employees paid time off instead of paying them overtime wages. Except in certain circumstances, this is illegal under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Using comp time instead of overtime pay is limited by the FLSA to public agencies that are a state, political subdivision of a state, or an interstate governmental agency.

    In most other situations, "comp time" (time off instead of overtime pay) is illegal under the FLSA. Non-exempt employees under federal labor laws who work over 40 hours in a work week must be paid for every hour you work, plus time-and-a-half for your overtime rate.

    Read our article for more information: Comp Time off instead of Overtime Pay Under the FLSA

  • I work more than 40 hours a week at an internship doing a lot of office duties, but I am never paid. Are internships covered under the FLSA?

    Yes, the Fair Labor Standards Act has certain rules that govern unpaid internships. The Department of Labor has issued fact sheets on internships stating clearly that in order for an intern to be unpaid the employer must derive no immediate advantage from the intern.

    Unfortunately, many employers take advantage of interns and have them doing actual work duties, even working over 40 hours a week, all the while without paying them a dime. Just because you are willing to gain experience for free does not mean that you should be taken advantage of.

    In order for an internship to be considered unpaid, six criteria must be met. Read about recent case in the news:

    Blog: Intern Slavery reported at Hearst newspapers

    Texas interns: Do you know if the FLSA applies to you?

  • What is the Fair Labor Standards Act?

    The Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, is a federal law established to ensure minimum wage and labor requirements. The FLSA was enacted in order to create fair standards surrounding minimum wage, overtime pay, record-keeping and child labor. The FLSA helps protect the rights of employees in the U.S. working in the private sector, or for federal, state, and local governments, regardless of whether you are a full- or part-time employee. This federal regulation covers almost 90% of employees in the workforce.

    Contact us for a free case review to determine if you have not been paid properly under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Many employers will tell workers they are exempt from overtime, and this is simply not true!
    You cannot trust that your employer knows the labor laws. Contact us today for a free review of your pay stubs and job duties.

    Read more about the FLSA and how it applies to your job.  

    The lawyers at Kennedy Hodges have helped hundreds of clients to recover their back wages and overtime pay in just about every industry:

    Computer/IT, Service Technicians, Independent Contractors, Cable Installers, Sales Representatives, Tipped Employees, Nurses/Healthcare, Paralegal, Oil/Gas/Field, Call Center, Banking Industry, Retail Store Employees, Accountants/Auditors, Bookkeepers/Clerks, and more.