Working overtime can be exhausting and often unrewarding. But it doesn’t always have to be. Sometimes, your employer might be violating the law by requiring you to work overtime or refusing to pay for overtime at all or at an increased rate. Overtime is regulated on the federal level by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), as well as applicable state, county and city laws. An employer is typically required to follow the laws that are most favorable to the employees. As with most legislation, interpreting the overtime law and determining how it applies to your specific case might be tricky—that’s when Maryland employment lawyer can be of great help.
What Counts as Overtime
In Maryland, working overtime typically means working more than 40 hours in a 7-day week. However, this rule of thumb doesn’t apply to all occupations and may be calculated differently for people working in demanding occupations with irregular schedules, such as farming and healthcare. Employees eligible for overtime receive payment that is 1.5 times their regular hourly rate for the hours worked in excess of 40.
In a few other states overtime is calculated on a daily basis rather than a weekly basis, but it’s not the case in Maryland. This means you could work a 12-hour day and still not be eligible for overtime in Maryland if your work week total is less than 40 hours.
Who is Exempt From Overtime
As you might already know, not everyone is eligible for overtime. There are several categories of employees and employers who are exempt from paying or receiving overtime pay.
Salaried employees are generally exempt from overtime.
If you are paid salary, you are typically not eligible for overtime. The Maryland Division of Labor, Licensing and Regulations (DLLR) identifies three types of salaried employees:
Executive employees are those who are in charge of people management, such as hiring or firing employees, enforcing discipline or providing direction.
Administrative employees help manage day-to-day operations of a business and serve as support to the executive and other employees.
Professional employees possess expertise in their field of study that they acquired through formal education often beyond college. The work they perform is intellectual as opposed to repetitive manual labor.
If you are a paid salary, yet you don’t fall in any of the above categories, you might be eligible for overtime. Some employers deliberately switch an employee to a salaried position to avoid paying overtime, but this doesn’t relieve them from this responsibility.
Other exempt employees
taxi drivers, seamen, air and rail carrier employees
certain employees selling or servicing vehicles
employees working for non-profit musical shows and events
certain radio and TV station employees
some salespeople who set their own hours
Employers not Covered by FLSA
The FLSA only covers employers who generate $500,000 or more in annual sales or who are engaged in interstate commerce. While this sounds like bad news for eligible employees who work for small companies, it’s not. The term “interstate commerce” is interpreted rather broadly and can mean anything from providing services to customers from out of state and sending emails to people in different states to ordering supplies from anther state. The way business is conducted in the modern world makes most of the above unavoidable.
The only type of legal entity typically not covered by FLSA is a nonprofit organization because what it does is not considered “commerce” in its general sense. However, there could be exceptions to this rule as well, so it doesn’t hurt to consult with your Maryland labor lawyer.
How Employers Can Get Out of Paying Overtime
Generally speaking, most employees who are paid an hourly rate and are not considered executive, administrative or professional, are eligible for overtime. This includes manual labor contractors, fast food employees, daycare workers, nurses, and people of many other occupations. The fact whether an employee is paid salary or an hourly rate doesn’t affect his/her eligibility—only the job function does.
Some employers attempt to avoid paying overtime to their eligible employees through various loopholes, such as:
Claiming the business is too small and therefore not covered by FLSA
Claiming that salaried employees are ineligible
Improperly classifying employees to fit into exempt categories
Requiring to work off the clock, stay on call or volunteer your time
Cutting non-exempt employees and shifting their duties to exempt workers
Miscalculating “hours worked” in a week
Do you think your current or former employer owes you overtime pay? If you are right and you can prove it, your employer might be required to pay you double the amount owed, as well as fines and legal fees. However, it’s important to have proper legal representation when you are going to court with your employer.
Contact Singleton Law Group today and we can help you understand your situation and build your case.