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Here are 3 tips for understanding overtime and your paycheck

With overtime, it can sometimes be hard to know exactly how much you'll get paid. You worked over your 40-hour limit, so you should be receiving compensation at a rate of time and one-half for any hours over 40 in one week. Sometimes, depending on the cut-off times for paychecks and when your week starts and ends, there can be confusion about how much overtime you really worked.

It's always a good idea to keep track of your hours on your own and on the job. Here are a few helpful tips to use so you can avoid having to complain about lower paychecks than expected.

1. Understand your pay period

The first thing every employee should do is find out when the pay period starts and ends. For some companies, it's Sunday through Saturday. For others, it's Friday to Thursday. Others have bi-monthly payment schemes. Before you can find out if you worked overtime, you need to know which week you're looking at and which paycheck the money goes on.

Here's an example. If you work from Monday to Thursday for 42 hours, you might expect two hours to be overtime. However, if the week starts on Tuesday, any work you did on Monday doesn't count in that pay period and won't count towards overtime.

2. Keep a careful eye on your wages

When you clock in or clock out, write it down. If your manager has to clock you in or out, make sure you note the exact time they should be inputting. If you notice a discrepancy on the times you're noted as working on your next paycheck, you'll have details to back up any claims you want to make.

3. Raise concerns with your employer

Sometimes, it is really best to talk to your employer about your concerns. If you're not sure why your check is lower than expected, it could just be a matter of the overtime payment going on the next paycheck. On the other hand, there could be errors on your time sheet that your employer didn't notice and needs time to correct. Sometimes, errors happen, but if your employer regularly fails to pay overtime, then it's something you need to address with your attorney.

These are three things you can do to make sure you get the overtime paychecks you earn. With some persistence, you can make sure your employer is paying you fairly.

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