Common Myths About Overtime Law
The ins and outs of overtime law can be difficult to keep track of, especially as a busy employee. It is important to know your rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) though, which is why our Houston overtime attorneys are here to help identify common myths that often prevent workers from getting the money they deserve!
Myth: “Comp Time” Is the Same as Overtime Pay
Some employers do offer their employees what is commonly referred to as “comp time” – compensatory time off. This comp time is offered by employers in lieu of cash payment for working more than full-time (more than 40 hours per workweek).
Myth: Employers Can Exclude Breaks When Calculating Work Hours
Resting breaks, defined as 20-minute-or-less periods, cannot be omitted from the workweek when determining overtime. This does not include meal periods, because meal periods aren’t considered “hours worked.” The only exceptions to the lunch break omission would be if the break was less than 30 minutes or if the employee worked through his or her lunch in some capacity.
Myth: Work Travel Does Not Count for Overtime
The FLSA says that travel counts toward “hours worked” as long as the travel cuts across the worker’s normally scheduled work hours. An example would be an employee who regularly works 8am to 5pm who takes a work-related flight between 10am and 12pm. Those hours between 10am-12pm still count toward “hours worked” since they cut across that employee’s normal work schedule.
Myth: Salaried Workers Are Automatically Excluded from Overtime Pay
Salaried is not synonymous with “exempt” in the working world, but that is a common misconception. In other words, it is possible for an employer to pay an employee a salary even though that employee is nonexempt from overtime pay. On the flip side, not all salaried workers qualify for overtime pay.
Myth: Overtime Hours Must Be Preauthorized to Qualify for Overtime Pay
Overtime hours worked do not have to be preapproved by an employer to qualify for pay. For example, a nonexempt employee who last-minute decides they need to work an extra two hours to finish their job duties still qualifies for time-and-a-half pay for those additional two hours, even though they didn’t first notify and get approval from their employer.
Still have questions? Ask our Houston overtime lawyers! We are here to inform you of your rights and options under the FLSA.