State and federal overtime regulations help to ensure that workers are compensated fully and fairly when they put in especially long hours on the job. If you are an overtime eligible employee and you put in more than 40 hours in a week, you deserve overtime pay. Here, our Decatur wage and hour attorneys highlight some of the key things that you need to know about the overtime laws in Georgia.
Federal Law: The Fair Labor Standards Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that grants certain employees the right to receive overtime pay. Under the FLSA, eligible employees should be paid time and a half (1.5x) their standard wage for any hours worked beyond 40 hours in a given week. As an example, imagine that a construction worker in DeKalb County, Georgia earns $20 per hour. In the last week, this worker put in 50 total hours while finishing up a major project. Under the FLSA, the worker is owed 40 hours of compensation at $20 per hour, and another 10 hours of overtime pay compensated at $30 per hour.
As of 2019, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Under Georgia law (GA Code § 34-4-3), workers must be paid at least minimum wage. This means that, in Georgia, the minimum wage for an hour of overtime work is $10.88 per hour. Unless an exemption applies, employees cannot be compensated at a rate less than $10.88 for overtime work.
Overtime Exceptions in Georgia
To be clear, not every worker is covered by overtime regulations. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, there are a number of different exemptions that employers can use to avoid offering overtime pay. Most notably, salaried professionals, administrators, and executive employees who earn more than $455 per week are not guaranteed overtime pay under the FLSA or any Georgia state law. In addition, some other classes of employees — including outside salespersons, computer professionals, certain agricultural workers, and certain domestic workers — are exempt from overtime laws.
What to Do If You Were Unlawfully Denied Overtime Pay
Unfortunately, some employers improperly deny workers overtime pay. They may do this by misclassifying the employee as overtime exempt, miscounting their hours, or committing other violations. These are strictly prohibited employment practices. If you believe that you were unfairly denied your overtime, you should call an experienced Georgia wage and hour claims lawyer as soon as possible. Under federal law (29 U.S. Code § 260), you may have a claim for liquidated damages — that means double back pay for your unpaid overtime.
Get Help From Our Georgia Wage and Hour Claims Lawyers Today
At the Vaughn Law Firm, our Georgia wage and hour attorneys have the skills and experience needed to protect your rights. If you believe that you were improperly denied overtime pay, we are here to help. For a free, completely confidential initial consultation, please contact our legal team today. From our law office in Decatur, we serve communities throughout Northeast Georgia.