One of the fundamental beliefs in the United States is that workers deserve to be fairly compensated for their labor. Employees here have a number of rights that, in less developed countries, workers could only dream of having. That’s why it is so important to understand your rights and the protections you are granted. If you are unaware of your rights as an employee, it is easy for unscrupulous employers to take advantage of you and your freedoms.
Overtime laws were instituted beginning in the 1930s as a way of protecting people from capricious and greedy companies. Today, we live in a world that many believe has benefitted enormously from these employment laws and regulations. Understanding how these laws pertain to you is of paramount importance.
Understanding Overtime Laws
In the United States, there are laws protecting workers from being forced to work more than 40 hours a week. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) features a number of rules which regulate who gets paid and when.
Generally speaking, any hours worked beyond 40 per week are paid 1.5 times the standard rate. For example, an employee who usually makes $8 per hour should be paid $12 per hour for each hour worked above 40 per week.
Some people are considered exempt from additional pay. The FLSA makes exemptions for people whose job descriptions involve responsibilities which can be described as one of the following:
These descriptions can be vague, and often companies take advantage of this to get people to work more hours than they have to. Often workers are given phony job titles and descriptions in order to get more work out of them than their bosses have a right to expect.