Overtime Pay Guidelines

A wide variety of workers, including many who earn tips, are entitled to overtime pay under federal and state law. For those covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, overtime requirements go into effect once the employee has worked 40 hours in a given week. At that point, the worker must be paid at a rate of 1½ times his or her usual hourly rate. A covered employee who typically makes $25 per hour, for example, must be paid $37.50 per hour for any time worked over the 40-hour threshold. If you believe you have been unlawfully denied overtime pay, contact the Chicago Overtime Law Center. Our team of Chicago overtime lawyers represents clients throughout Illinois and across the country in a variety of claims, including those related to unpaid wages. We are committed to ensuring honest treatment of workers and we fight for our clients' right to earn honest pay for an honest day’s work.

A worker's right to overtime pay under the FLSA depends largely on whether the employee is considered "exempt" or "nonexempt." Exempt employees are generally those working in "white collar" or professional jobs, such as lawyers, doctors, accountants, outside salespersons and some technology workers. An employer is not required to pay overtime wages to these workers. All other employees are "nonexempt" and must be paid overtime wages for all hours worked beyond 40 in a particular week.

Employee classification can be a complicated matter and many workers are wrongly denied overtime by being misclassified as FLSA exempt. Courts typically focus on the nature of a person's job and the specific duties he or she performs, instead of general job title, in order to determine an employee's exemption status under the law.

While misclassification is unfortunately common, there are also a number of other ways in which a worker may be denied overtime pay. Some "flat salary" compensation systems, for instance, dictate that employees are paid the same amount each pay period, even if they work more than 40 hours in a given week. An employer operating under such a system cannot deny workers overtime pay by simply claiming that they did not ask permission to work overtime where the circumstances show that the employer knew or should have known that employees were working additional hours. Nor may the employer substitute occasional bonuses and "comp-time" (for non-government workers) in place of legally-mandated overtime wages.

An employer may also try to limit workers' hours by requiring them to perform certain tasks "off the clock." An employer may tell workers to arrive before their scheduled shifts to do certain prep work or make them clock out before doing clean-up and other end-of-shift tasks. This not only means the workers are not paid for all of the work they perform, but also that it will take them longer to accrue 40 hours each week.

At the Chicago Overtime Law Center, our Chicago overtime attorneys have decades of experience with a full range of overtime issues. We have dedicated our practice to helping employees around the country who are wrongfully deprived of overtime pay. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with an overtime lawyer in the Chicago area, please contact us online or at (312) 869-4095.