Overtime Questions

Lunch Breaks Are Your Right

If you work more than five hours per day, you are entitled to a lunch break (or meal period or rest period) of at least 30 minutes. If you work 10 hours in a day, you are entitled to another 30 minute lunch break.

If you are allowed to leave your place of work and you are relieved of all duties you have during that break, you are not entitled to be paid for that time. If you are not allowed to leave the premises during lunch breaks, the break counts as time worked for overtime purposes, even if you are relieved of all work duties.

Time Spent Traveling between Home and a Place that Your Employer Requires You to Go Should be Paid For By Your Employer

The time you spend going to and from work is generally not time that you employer should be paying you for.

But, travel time at your employer's direction counts as hours that you are working. For example, if your employer wants you to:
- meet a client at his office, then your employer should be paying you for the time you spend driving to and from the client's office.

Time Spent Preparing for Work Should be Paid for by Your Employer

Time spent preparing for work should be paid for by an employer in many cases.

As examples, time spent by a:
- butcher sharpening knives before and after work, or
- machine worker cleaning machines before and after actually working on them, or
- garment worker distributing clothing before beginning sewing, or

Exempt or Non-Exempt for Overtime or Minimum Wage

In determining whether you are supposed to get overtime for your work, a determination must be made as to whether you are exempt or non-exempt.

To be EXEMPT means you DO NOT get overtime and to be NON-EXEMPT means that you DO get overtime.

There are several different reasons a job can be exempt from overtime requirements. To be non-exempt and therefore be entitled to overtime, you must not fall into any one of these reasons:
- Professional, Executive and Administrative Employees may be exempt.
- Outside salespeople are exempt if their employment situation satisfies various tests.
- Computer related occupations are exempt if the job meets several tests.
- Highly compensated employees may be exempt.
Some examples of positions that are usually non-exempt and therefore entitled to overtime include:
- Secretaries,
- Clerks of various kinds who perform routine clerical duties,
- Bookkeepers,
- Valet,
- Cosmetologists and Barbers,
- Building Inspectors,
- Cooks,
- Correctional Officers,
- Production Line Workers,
- First Responders,
- Electricians,
- Nurses and Registered Nurses,
- Longshore Workers,
- Maintenance Workers,
- Security Guards,
- Concierge Staff,
- Salaried sales people in retail, wholesale or service establishments (like Radio Shack, Walmart and Target, as examples),
- Television newscast producers, station directors, assignment reporters and editors whose primary duty relate to the production aspect of a television station's business,
- Paralegals and legal assistants,
- Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians,
- Unlicensed Engineers or Junior Drafters,
- Automobile damage appraisers employed by an insurance company.

Once a determination is made that you are non-exempt from overtime, a determination needs to be made as to how much overtime you are due.

Some examples of positions that are usually exempt and therefore not entitled to overtime include:
- Certain Amusement Park or Recreational Establishment Employees,
- Certain Amusement Park or Recreational Establishment Employees for National Parks forests or refuges provided they are paid time and a half after 56-hours in one work week,
- Certain Camp, Religious, and Nonprofit Educational Conference Centers that operate less than 7 months a year,
- Fishing or On-Vessel processing of fish,
- Seamen who are a member of a maritime crew responsible for maintaining and operating a ship,
- Certain small newspaper employees,
- Switchboard operators employed by certain small independent telephone companies
- Criminal Investigators,
- Casual domestic babysitters and persons employed to provide companionship to older or infirm people in their home,
- Live-in employees of private homes performing domestic services,
- Certain computer systems analysts,
- Motor carrier employees who drive interstate,
- Certain air or rail carrier employees,
- Certain agricultural employees, including those employed in livestock auctions
- Employees engaged in planting or tending trees, cruising, surveying or felling timber, or in preparing or transporting logs or other forestry products to a mill, processing plant, railroad or other transportation terminal, if there are no more than eight employees in that operation,
- Any employee engaged in the transportation and preparation for transport of fruits or vegetables from the farm to a place of first processing in the same state,
- Certain employees involved in operation or maintenance of ditches, canals, reservoirs or waterways that are not for profit or are on sharecrop basis for supplying or storing water for agricultural purposes,
- Certain buyers of poultry, eggs, cream or milk in their raw and natural state,
- An announcer, news editor, or chief engineer of a radio or television station located in a small city or town,
- Certain salespeople, parts people, service advisers, service writer, or mechanics primarily engaged in selling or servicing automobiles, trucks, trailers, boats, aircraft or farm implements,
- Certain drivers or driver's helper making local deliveries compensated based on trip rates,
- Any employees engaged in the processing of maple sap into sugar or syrup,
- Taxicab drivers,
- Employees in fire protection, law enforcement, and security at a correctional institution for a public agency employing fewer than five employees in those activities, and
- Employees of movie theaters.

» Contact Deskin Law Firm About Your Overtime Compensation Question

If you believe that you are not getting overtime wages when you should, use our detailed Overtime Compensation Question form to send us a detailed question about your overtime situation.

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