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Avoid overtime disputes: Do the math right the first time

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in Human Resources

Overtime: One and one-half times an employee's regular rate of pay for hours worked over 40 in a work week.

Each element of this deceptively simple definition carries a lot of baggage.

Miscalculation of overtime is one of the most common violations under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

What's a week?

A fundamental principle of overtime is that each workweek stands alone. That means you can't average the hours worked over two weeks to minimize your exposure to overtime.

A workweek is seven consecutive 24-hour days. You can have different workweeks for different employees, but you can't switch the days in an individual employee's week unless it's a permanent change.

An employee's weekly work hours could look like this:


12 8 8 8 4

and you would avoid paying overtime because there's no federal law that requires daily overtime. However, some states, including California, do se...(register to read more)

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