How to Recover Overtime as a Federal Employee


For many federal employees, going above and beyond the standard 40-hour week is a regular occurrence. Your dedication shouldn’t go unnoticed – especially when it comes to your paycheck. If you’ve clocked overtime hours and haven’t seen that reflected in your earnings, you might be missing out.

The unpaid overtime lawyers at The Vaughn Law Firm have seen how unpaid overtime can create financial hardship for both private sector and government workers. If you have not received the overtime pay you deserve, we can help you take legal action to recover the money you earned.

Which Federal Employees Are Eligible for Overtime?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Federal Employees Pay Act (FEPA) set overtime rules for government employees at all levels, as well as private sector workers. Broadly speaking, these laws require employers to pay overtime pay to anyone who works more than 40 hours per week. According to a recent ruling from the Department of Labor, most employees earning less than $684 per week qualify for overtime pay, even if an employee works on a salary basis instead of hourly. There are a handful of workers who are typically exempt from these overtime rules, including:

  • Administrative workers
  • Company executives
  • “Learned professionals” (doctors, lawyers, etc.)
  • Creative professionals (artists, actors, etc.)
  • “Highly compensated” employees (anyone making more than $107,432 per year)
  • Some computer workers
  • Outside sales workers

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) notes that some FLSA-exempt employees still qualify for overtime pay. If you don’t know whether you qualify for overtime, talk to an employment lawyer immediately.

Recovering Overtime as a Federal Employee

According to the OPM, the first step to recovering overtime pay is determining whether you must follow the negotiated grievance procedure required for some federal workers. You must use the negotiated grievance procedure if you meet all the following conditions:

  • You were part of a group of employees subject to a collective bargaining unit
  • There is a collective bargaining agreement covering your position
  • The collective bargaining agreement does not exclude FLSA disputes from the negotiated grievance procedure.

If you meet all these conditions, an attorney can walk you through the negotiated grievance procedure that applies to your job. Otherwise, you can submit an overtime claim through whichever government agency employs you, the OPM, or the court system. You must submit an overtime claim to the OPM in writing, while different federal agencies and the courts have their own procedures for these claims. A federal employment attorney can evaluate your options and help you find the right path forward.

How Our Federal Employment Attorneys Can Help

In the intricate world of federal employment law, an attorney is your strongest ally when it comes to unpaid overtime claims. Here are some things The Vaughn Law Firm brings to the table in these cases:

  • In-Depth Knowledge of Federal Regulations: Federal employment laws are not always straightforward. An experienced attorney understands the nuances of these laws and how they apply specifically to federal employees.
  • Gathering and Presenting Evidence: Evidence is crucial if you believe you deserve overtime but have not received fair compensation. Your attorney will know what documentation and records you need to support your claim and how to present them effectively.
  • Protection Against Retaliation: Some employees fear retaliation if they come forward with overtime claims. An attorney can help protect you from any adverse actions by your employer, ensuring you can seek your rightful compensation without jeopardizing your job.
  • Effective Communication: Making yourself heard within the federal system can be daunting. Your attorney can facilitate communications, ensure the right people hear your claim, and correctly file any necessary paperwork.

While it’s possible to pursue an unpaid overtime claim on your own, having an attorney significantly amplifies your chances of success. The Vaughn Law Firm has the knowledge and experience to guide your case toward a successful resolution. To better serve you, we have offices in Washington, D.C., and Decatur, GA. Call us today at 877-615-9495 or complete our online contact form for a confidential case review.