Who is Eligible for Overtime Pay?

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Who is eligible for overtime pay? Under the current federal FairPay overtime rules, workers earning less than $23,660 per year ($455 per week) are guaranteed overtime protection. However, some states have overtime pay rules that increase eligibility. In locations where an employee is subject to both state and federal overtime laws, overtime is paid according to the standard that will provide the higher amount of pay. Check with your State Department of Labor for more information.

Review information on current overtime pay requirements, workers who don't have to be paid overtime and proposed changes in the salary levels for eligibility for overtime.

Calculating Overtime Pay

According to the Department of Labor, unless exempted from the overtime regulations, employees covered by the Act must receive overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a work week at a rate not less than time and one-half their regular rates of pay.

Overtime Calculator
Use this Overtime Calculator from the United States Department of Labor to help you figure out if you're eligible for overtime pay and to calculate how much overtime you will receive for a sample pay period.

Exemptions for Overtime Pay

The rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) also have overtime exemptions for "highly compensated" employees who customarily and regularly perform any one or more of the exempt duties or responsibilities of an executive, administrative, or professional employee.

A variety of other categories of workers are exempt from overtime pay such as boat and aircraft salespersons, railroad employees, newspaper delivery workers, babysitters, and companions for the elderly.

The rules also state that police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and other so-called "first responders" are entitled to overtime pay. For more information visit the Department of Labor website:

Potential Changes in Overtime Pay Guidelines

President Obama issued an executive order in 2014 directing the Department of Labor to review policies regarding who was exempt from overtime pay.  President Obama specifically wanted to review the threshold for overtime pay with an eye towards significantly increasing the minimum salary at which workers could be ruled as exempt from overtime provisions.  An increasing number of workers have been classified as exempt due to wage inflation since the standard was last set in 2004.

The following changes were scheduled to go into effect on December 1, 2016:

  • The salary for eligibility for overtime pay will increase from $455 per week to $913 per week or $47,476 per year.
  • The salary threshold for eligibility will be updated every three years, based on wage growth.

These guidelines for overtime pay are being litigated in federal court:

August 31, 2017: U.S. District Court Judge Amos Mazzant granted summary judgment against the Department of Labor in consolidated cases challenging the Overtime Final Rule. The court held that the Final Rule's salary level exceeded the Department’s authority, and concluded that the Final Rule is invalid.

October 30, 2017: the Department of Justice, on behalf of the Department of Labor, filed a notice to appeal this decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Once this appeal is docketed, the Department of Justice will file a motion with the Fifth Circuit to hold the appeal in abeyance while the Department of Labor undertakes further rulemaking to determine what the salary level should be.

Though it appears that the department of labor may try to change the threshold for qualifying for overtime, the current overtime pay guidelines will remain in effect until the litigation is resolved.