The Fair Labor Standards Act established basic rights for workers in the United States of America. Among those basic employment rights include the right to a minimum wage and the right to overtime pay, provided that a worker performs at least 40 hours of work within a given pay period or week.

Workers can find themselves feeling frustrated and angry if they believe they should receive overtime wages that never materialized in their paycheck. Are there circumstances in which a company does not have to pay time-and-a-half for hours worked beyond 40?

Overtime wages aren’t necessary if workers misunderstand the workweek

Determining whether or not someone gets overtime pay involves looking at when the company’s official work week starts and ends. It is common for many companies to begin them on Sunday or Monday and end them on Saturday or Friday, depending on whether they are open seven days or keep a standard 5-day office workweek. However, there is no obligation for companies to use that arrangement. 

They could start their workweek at midnight on Wednesday if they so choose. If an employee makes an assumption about the workweek that doesn’t reflect the actual start and end time their employer utilizes, the worker may think they should receive overtime wages when in fact they have not accrued enough time.

Salary workers and independent contractors often don’t get overtime

Certain workers are exempt from overtime laws in many situations. Workers who receive salary wages instead of hourly wages typically don’t receive overtime, although some salary workers whose income is below the minimum set by the government, which is currently $35,568 can still receive overtime.

Independent contractors or those who are self-employed generally also can’t claim overtime unless they negotiate for overtime compensation in the contract they execute with specific clients or companies. Direct employees paid on an hourly basis with more than 40 hours worked within the workweek set by their employer do likely have the right to demand overtime wages. 

If you believe that you’ve been deprived out of your fair wages, find out how an attorney can help.