The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires overtime pay at time and one-half the regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek.

There is no requirement for extra pay for weekend or night work unless it contributes to a total that exceeds this 40-hour limit. However, there is no limit on the number of hours employees (aged 16 and older) may work in any workweek, and no requirement for double-time pay.

It won't help to announce that no overtime work will be permitted or that overtime work will not be paid unless authorized in advance — neither impairs the employee's right to collect for overtime hours actually worked. Neither can you agree with employees in advance to waive overtime pay or to count only eight hours a day or 40 hours a week.

If you pay a fixed salary for a regular workweek longer than 40 hours, you still have to pay the overtime. For example, an employee working a standard 45-hour workweek for a weekly salary of $450 has an effective base pay rate of $10 per hour. Under FLSA rules, he is entitled to an additional $25 — $5 overtime pay for each hour over 40.

Finally, where both state and federal overtime laws apply, the standard that provides the higher rate of pay prevails.

For more information, visit the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division Web site at or call 866.487.9243.