How Overtime Pay is Calculated

Overtime, time and a half, and double-time pay

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Some employees are entitled to receive overtime pay when they work extra hours. These employees are generally termed “non-exempt”—which means that they’re not exempt from the overtime pay rules governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). “Exempt” employees are not subject to FLSA overtime regulations.

Eligibility is based on weekly earnings and hours worked. Overtime pay is calculated based on a 40-hour workweek, and overtime pay for eligible employees is required for any hours worked over those 40 hours.

In some cases, overtime pay rules are governed by state regulations in addition to the FLSA.


In states 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 your state department of labor website for information on overtime pay requirements in your location. Employers must follow both federal and state law to stay compliant.

What Is Time and a Half Pay?

Workers earning less than $684 per week, which is $35,568 per year, are guaranteed federal overtime protection effective January 1, 2020.

There are 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. There are also exemptions for some other occupations under federal law.

According to the Department of Labor, employees covered by the FLSA must receive overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek at a rate not less than time and one-half their regular rates of pay.

What is Double-Time Pay?

Double time is a rate of pay double the usual amount a person receives for normal hours worked. So, if your normal rate of pay was $11.00 an hour, double-time pay would be $22.00 per hour. Double time is sometimes paid for working on federal holidays or when hours work exceeding the normal workday.

When Double Time Is Paid

There are no federal laws that require an employer to pay double time for overtime worked. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has no requirement for double-time pay.

However, state laws may provide for overtime or double time. For example, in California, double the employee's regular rate of pay must be paid for all hours worked in excess of 12 hours in any workday and for all hours worked in excess of eight on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek.


Double time is most commonly an agreement between an employer and employee (or the employee's representative). An agreement for double-time pay may also be itemized in a labor agreement or union contract.

Check with your state department of labor for rules for your location.

How Overtime Pay Is Calculated

Overtime pay is not automatically awarded for work completed on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, or regular days of rest unless hours worked on those days push the weekly total over 40 hours.

All non-exempt employees who work over 40 hours during a workweek must be paid at a rate of at least one and one-half times (typically referred to as time and a half) the employee's regular hourly rate. So, a worker earning $10 per hour, who worked a 50-hour week, would be entitled to 10 overtime hours at $15 per hour. 

Overtime pay applies to non-exempt salaried employees as well as hourly employees. For example, a non-exempt salaried employee who is paid $600 per week would be guaranteed at least $22.50 per hour for each hour worked over 40 ($600/40 = 15 X 1.5 = $22.5 per overtime hour).

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, an employee's workweek is a "fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours—seven consecutive 24-hour periods." The workweek can start on any day or time as long as the hours are consistently calculated for that same period. Hours can't be averaged over a two or four-week pay period. The Act does permit employers to designate a different workweek for different classes of employees.

Hospitals and residential care facilities are allowed to calculate overtime based on a period of 14 consecutive days instead of the otherwise required adherence to a seven-consecutive-day period. For example, a hospital employee might work 30 hours in week one of the period and 50 hours in week two of the period for a total of 80 hours. This worker would not be entitled to any overtime since she did not average more than 40 hours per week.

Non-exempt employees can be paid on a weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly basis, and overtime is normally paid during the period that it was earned.

Employees Not Entitled to Overtime

Some employees, known as exempt employees, are not entitled to overtime pay. The amount to be eligible for overtime pay may differ in locations where states laws regulate compensation for overtime.

The rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act 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. 

Many other categories of workers are exempt from overtime pay including taxicab drivers, truck drivers, salespeople, radio and television station employees in small markets, motion picture theater employees, sugar processing workers, and seamen.

The information contained in this article is not legal advice and is not a substitute for such advice. State and federal laws change frequently, and the information in this article may not reflect your own state’s laws or the most recent changes to the law. 

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  1. U.S. Department of Labor. Elaws. "Exemptions," Accessed Nov. 29, 2021.

  2. U.S. Department of Labor. "Overtime Pay," Accessed Nov. 29, 2021.

  3. SHRM. "How Do State Overtime Pay Rules Differ From Federal Law?" Accessed Nov. 30, 2021.

  4. U.S. Department of Labor. "Final Rule: Overtime Update," Accessed Nov. 29, 2021.

  5. U.S. Department of Labor. "Fair Labor Standards Act Advisor: When is Double Pay Due?" Accessed Nov. 29, 2021.

  6. Department of Industrial Relations. "Overtime," Accessed Nov. 29, 2021.

  7. U.S. Department of Labor. "Employees of Hospitals and Residential Care Establishments," Accessed Nov. 29, 2021.

  8. U.S. Department of Labor. "Fact Sheet #17A: Exemption for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Computer & Outside Sales Employees Under the Fair Labor Standards Act." Accessed Nov. 29, 2021.

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