You are an employee at a rice paper mill and want to impress the boss by burning the midnight oil (but not too close to the wood pulp). For four consecutive weeks, you work forty five, forty two,...

You are an employee at a rice paper mill and want to impress the boss by burning the midnight oil (but not too close to the wood pulp). For four consecutive weeks, you work forty five, forty two, thirty nine, and thirty one hours. If you are a nonexcempt employee covered by the Fair Labor Standards Acts, how many hours of overtime pay, if any, would you be entitled to? What would be the rate? 

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Stephen Holliday | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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First, A non-exempt employee (that is, an employee paid by hours worked) under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended, must be paid at least $7.25 an hour up to 40 hours per week; second, any hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week must be paid at the rate of 1.5 times that employee's regular hourly rate.  In some cases, companies have established a work week less than 40 hours--for example, many companies in the United States have a work week of 37.5 or 35 hours.  In these cases, companies generally pay overtime to any non-exempt employee who works hours in excess of the company's work week.  For this answer, I will assume that the employee is entitled to $7.25 an hour up to 40 hours per week, and $10.88 an hour for every hour above 40.  I am also assuming this employee does not live in a state in which the minimum wage has been increased above $7.25 an hour.  There are a few states whose minimum wage is below the federal minimum wage, but the law requires these states to pay employees the federal minimum wage.

In your scenario, the employee is entitled to his or her weekly salary of $290 per week for two weeks.  In addition, he or she is entitled to overtime pay of $54.40 (5 hours x $10.88) for the first week, for a total of $344.40; for the second week, using the same calculations, his or her salary is $290 (regular pay) and $21.76 (2 hours overtime), for a total of $311.76.

During the second two weeks, however, during which the employee does not work the standard 40 hour week, his or her salary is based on 39 and 31 hours at $7.25 an hour, so $282.75 and $224.75, respectively.  

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