Defining the Workweek or Work Period

Editor's Note: The workweek doesn't necessarily have to run from Monday to Sunday.

Michael CardmanOverview: The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)'s overtime laws require employers to pay employees overtime when they work beyond a certain threshold, usually 40 hours in a workweek.

For most employers, the workweek coincides with the calendar week, running from 12 a.m. Monday to 12 p.m. on Sunday.

But employers are allowed to use any fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours, or seven consecutive 24-hour periods. It may begin on any day of the week and at any hour of the day.

Once an employer establishes a workweek, it must remain fixed. The employer may change the workweek, but the change must be intended to be permanent and must not be designed to evade the overtime requirements of the FLSA.

Not all employees are paid overtime on the basis of 40 hours per 168-hour workweek. Police, firefighters, EMS employees and unionized employees can work under alternative work periods as long as 28 days.

Trends: A single workweek may be established for a plant or other establishment as a whole or different workweeks may be established for different employees or groups of employees.

This flexibility may prove advantageous for employers with various employees working different schedules in different locations.

Author: Michael Cardman, Legal Editor

Latest items in Defining the Workweek or Work Period

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    Updated to reflect new laws that affect separate overtime requirements for agricultural employees and domestic personal attendants.

  • Overtime: Maryland

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    In-depth review of the spectrum of Maryland employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to overtime.

  • Overtime: Michigan

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    In-depth review of the spectrum of Michigan employment law requirements HR must follow in respect to overtime.

  • Overtime: Alaska

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Alaska employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to overtime.

  • Overtime: New Mexico

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    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of New Mexico employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to overtime.

  • Overtime: Oregon

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Oregon employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to overtime.

  • Overtime: Wisconsin

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Wisconsin employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to overtime.

  • Overtime: Illinois

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Illinois employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to overtime.

  • Overtime: Colorado

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Colorado employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to overtime.

  • Overtime: Pennsylvania

    Type:
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    In-depth review of the spectrum of Pennsylvania employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to overtime.

About This Topic

HR guidance on complying with the FLSA requirements on defining the workweek or work period.

Defining the Workweek or Work Period: Key Items