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Don't get cheated out of your overtime pay

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, when it comes to overtime pay, all nonexempt employees are to receive overtime pay for any time worked over 40 hours in a workweek. The overtime pay must be at least one and one-half the employee's normal rate of pay. This excludes exempt employees who are executives, administrative positions, professional positions, outside sales positions and certain computer positions that meet specific criteria.

If you are not an exempt employee and you work overtime, make sure you are being compensated correctly for any hours you work over the 40-hour a week limit. Employers often use tricks to avoid having to pay time and a half for overtime work. For instance, some nonexempt employees are paid by salary. An employer may tell you that you are not entitled to overtime pay because you are a salaried employee. This is not true.

Some employers will classify you as an independent contractor instead of an employee. If there is a set time you must arrive and leave work, and the company tells you how to perform your job, you are probably an employee and not an independent contractor. Independent contractors should be able to set their own hours, hire extra help and control how the job is done. Independent contractors also must pay all of their own taxes, which is another reason employers like to label you an independent contractor.

Other ways employers try to get out of paying time and a half is by requiring you to clock out for a lunch hour even if you are working during lunch. Requiring you to stay late for meetings or other events while off the clock is also time you should be paid for. Anytime you are "required" to do work for the company that requires you to be on duty more than 40 hours in a workweek, you are working overtime.

If you suspect your employer is not following the law, or misclassifying you when it comes to your overtime pay status, you should track all of your hours and extra work time and then seek legal help. These tricks for avoiding overtime pay are common and used by employers everyday. Numerous lawsuits are filed in this country by employees who have been taken advantage of in this way. Don't let it happen to you.

Source: AOL Jobs, "10 Tricks Employers Use To Cheat Workers Out Of Overtime," Donna Ballman, accessed Dec. 09, 2015

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