At the end of the day, or your shift, your supervisor says “You should have finished this work during your shift. Go ahead and clock out, but you will need to finish it before you leave for the day. I am not paying you for the time it takes to complete this job.”
Nearly all workers take short breaks. It is common knowledge that two or three breaks over the course of the day increase productivity and efficiency. While your employer may encourage or even require you to take such breaks, often the time spent is not counted in your work hours for the week. If the break lasts only five to twenty minutes, the law requires the inclusion of that time in paid time. In addition to break time, employers often forget or fail to include travel time. Finally, many employers don’t provide meal breaks completely free from work duties, or they require employees to clock out for lunch but remain working at their station. If you must work during lunch, then your employer must pay you for the time.
Generally speaking, companies want to keep payroll costs down. One way to avoid costs is to not pay overtime. To avoid paying overtime, employers will often try to fit employees who don’t qualify into exempt categories.
Exemption from the FLSA means that overtime pay is not required.
Overtime does not have to be paid for more than eight hours spent working in a day, although many employers do this as an incentive. Rather, federal requirements look at the entire work week, usually a fixed period of 168 hours or seven consecutive 24-hour work periods.
Overtime pay is usually 1 ½ the regular rate of pay in effect for that workweek. This is not limited to the standard pay for an employee. Regular rate of pay may include supplemental payments made such as shift pay, bonuses, and commissions. Plus, if the employee worked at several different rates of pay, the different rates of pay should be averaged over the week to determine the actual rate of pay for overtime calculations.