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Is a small business required to pay an hourly waged worker overtime. When it is not voluntary work?

Milwaukee, WI |

I work for a small business. Every week I am normally scheduled anywhere from 5-15 hours of mandatory over time. I am paid hourly. Whenever I bring up my concerns I am normally quickly told that if I don't want to work the hours my boss would be able to quickly find a replacement.

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Attorney answers 2


You don't say what type of business or even what your concerns are. Most people ask questions about Overtime if they are working your hours. Generally, you would be covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act which mandates time and one half for hours over 40 worked in a work week. This is based on an employer that has 2 or more employees and $500,000 gross receipts or an employer that engages in interstate commerce. There are other coverages and other exceptions. The first step is to talk with the Wage and Hour folks at the Department of Labor. They would probably be interested in knowing your facts. Look under US Government, Department of Labor and call them.
If your concern is about it being mandatory, as long as the employer is otherwise in compliance the number of hours required are not illegal.

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Every employee must be compensated for all hours worked over 40, regardless of whether those hours worked were "mandatory" or not, just so long as the employer knows or should reasonably be expected to know what the overtime hours were worked.

If you are working overtime and your employer is aware of it, it should compensate you for those hours at a rate of 1.5 times your regular, hourly rate. For example, if you normally receive $9.00 per hour, you should be paid $13.50 for all overtime hours worked.

If you are working overtime, your employer is aware of it, and you are not being paid for it, that likely may constitute a violation of wage and hour laws and you should consider speaking to an employment law attorney about your situation.

Hope that helped.

James A. Walcheske
Walcheske & Luzi, LLC

This answer was provided for general informational purposes only, and should not be construed or interpreted as providing legal advice or as creating an attorney-client relationship.