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How to Calculate How Much Overtime an Employee Is Owed

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), a nonexempt employee typically is owed overtime when he or she works more than 40 hours in a workweek. An employer can follow these steps to determine how much overtime an employee is owed in most situations, except for unusual circumstances such as when the employee is paid:

  • Under a fluctuating workweek system;
  • Basic rates of pay by agreement;
  • Guaranteed compensation under a "Belo plan";
  • By piece rates; or
  • Under an alternative work period that is longer than 40 hours, such as 7(k) plans for public safety employees, 1040/2080 plans for unionized employees or Eight and 80 plans for certain nonexempt medical care providers.

This How To also does not cover state overtime variations, which may be more stringent than the federal standard.