Can a company legally work its employees over 40 hours a week?

On Behalf of | Sep 1, 2021 | Wage And Hour Claims |

In an era of controversial payment practices and employment methods, the hourly workweek can easily slide into the conversation. Employers trying to get out of paying employees according to state and federal laws may go through great lengths to hide their practices.

One such method could be through having employees work overtime without additional payment. But is this practice legal?

Employment parameters

The answer to this question is circumstantial. Many factors go into determining a worker’s pay beyond the hourly wage worked in one week. In short, however, the answer is yes. An employer may work their employees, exempt or non-exempt, over the standard 40 hours in a work-week.

Here is the catch. According to federal law, Californian companies are required to pay non-exempt workers (your average hourly worker in the United States) time-and-a-half pay for any time worked over 40 hours in a work-week. Technically, so long as the company is willing to continue paying their employees extra, they may continue working their employees.

The exempt worker

The exception is with the exempt worker. Some companies and organizations may pay their employees a yearly salary and exempt them from regular employment practices. Exempt employees are not subjected to the same limitations as non-exempt employees.

Fair employment practices

The government has established rules for employers to level out the power dynamic between employers and employees. Employees who are not paid a yearly salary are obligated time-and-a-half pay for any time past 40 hours in a week. The act of employers overworking employees and refusing them just pay is called wage theft and is in violation of the law.

Non-exempt employees can rest easy knowing their interests are being looked out for, that their just pay is guaranteed by law.