Overtime is a chance for employees to work more than their allotted amount of hours per week and get paid extra for them. Depending on what type of job you have, your position in that job, and whether your position is classified as exempt or non-exempt will determine your eligibility to earn overtime hours as well as compensation. The current laws state that employers must pay their eligible employees “time-and-a-half” wages for overtime hours worked. The national overtime limit is set at anything beyond 40 hours per work week. If you are an hourly employee who works over 40 hours a week and you aren’t being paid overtime wages at time-and-a-half, you may be entitled to seek your owed wages through an unpaid overtime lawsuit.
These regulations weren’t always in place. Starting in 1938, regulations were introduced to help protect employee’s rights in the workplace. Before then, work hours could be extremely long and hard for the employee. Many employers took advantage of their employees, having them work 16 hour days and beyond, especially during a time of poverty and economic depression which caused people to go poor and therefore victims of overworking for little pay and no overtime compensation.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt established new labor law standards in 1938 via the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA has overtime regulations, labor safety regulations, and time-and-a-half requirements for those employees that work over 40 hours per week and that are qualified to receive compensation according to the FLSA laws. President Roosevelt hoped this would stop the exploitation of those that had jobs, and to also address the lack of jobs available.
In 2004, changes were made to some of the overtime laws using the “FairPay” initiative created by President George Bush. These changes cause many people to lose overtime protection by reclassifying specific types of workers and positions that enables them to lose overtime pay and hours. Many debates were created because of the FairPay act and it attempts to repeal it were continuous.
Today, overtime regulations are mandated by the US Department of Labor and by the FLSA. Employees that are eligible for overtime but are not compensated or have their overtime rights violated can file an unpaid overtime claim. Claims help the Department of Labor branch work with employers to ensure that they follow the overtime rules. The overtime laws created in 1938 have helped find a balance between workload, employee and employer. It provides a safe barrier so people are not overworked and get paid for the time that they do work accordingly and within the proper laws and regulations. Exceptions to overtime laws do exist, and are outlined by both the Department of Labor as well as the FLSA.
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