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When should I get my overtime pay?

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If you are like most California workers, you enjoy working overtime, not because you love the extra work, but because you love the time-and-a-half or double-time wage rates you receive. Sometimes you have that money spent in your mind before you even get it. Even if not, your overtime pay is important to you, and you want your employer to pay it as soon as possible.

By law, your employer must give you your overtime pay at the same time (s)he gives you your regular pay. Precisely when you get your pay, however, depends on the payroll schedule to which your employer adheres. For instance, if your employer pays you twice a month, you must get your first check by the 10th of the month and your second check by the 26th of the month. Your first check represents the pay you earned, including overtime, between the 16th and the end of the preceding month. Your second check represents the pay you earned, including overtime, between the first and the 15th of the current month.

If your employer adheres to a different payroll schedule, you must get your wages and overtime pay sometime within seven days of the time you did the work. Bear in mind that these rules apply to you only if you are an hourly worker. If you are an executive, administrative or professional employee, the law allows your employer to pay you once a month.

Overtime amounts and hours

The Fair Labor Standards Act requires your employer to pay you at least 1.5 times your normal pay rate for each hour over 40 that you work during a seven-day period. This rule does not apply to any hour over eight that you work during a regular shift. In addition, the seven-day period need not coincide with a calendar week. For instance, if you normally work Tuesday through Saturday with Sunday and Monday off, your seven-day period runs from Tuesday through Monday.

Overtime pay discrepancies

Your best strategy any time you work overtime is to keep track of the number of hours you worked and the date on which you worked them. This gives you a written record should a dispute arise between you and your employer regarding unpaid overtime. In addition, you should notify your employer immediately if your paycheck amount seems to be in error.

Once your employer knows of and verifies the shortage, (s)he can pay you your "lost" overtime in your next paycheck without violating the law. (S)he must list this late overtime payment on a separate line of your pay stub, noting that this amount of money represents a late payment for overtime hours you worked in a previous pay period, including the dates of that period.

If your employer fails to comply with the law regarding overtime pay, speak with an experienced employment law attorney.

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