Workers can get time and a half pay for every hour they work beyond the 40th hour in a seven-day period. However, this is only part of the story. Almost everyone works more than 40 hours per week, and only some people ever get paid the overtime rate. Whether or not you get the overtime pay rate depends on the nature of your work and on your payment arrangement, among other factors. If you are not getting overtime pay, it might be because your job is in an exempt category. It might also be because you qualify for overtime pay, but your employer is using twisted logic to avoid paying it to you. In this case, you should contact a New Jersey employment lawyer.
Overtime Pay Eligibility in New Jersey
According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, your employer must pay you 1.5 times your hourly wage for every hour you work beyond 40 hours in a week (defined as seven consecutive days). As of 2021, the minimum wage is $12 per hour, which means that you will get a minimum of $18 for each overtime hour you work. Most employees who get paid an hourly rate, as opposed to a monthly or annual salary, are eligible for overtime pay. The law explicitly states that cashiers, construction workers, factory workers, firefighters, paramedics are eligible. Meanwhile, agriculture and livestock workers, hotel workers, and bus and limousine drivers are not eligible. Domestic workers such as housekeepers and nannies are eligible for overtime pay unless they are employed on a live-in basis, with the employer providing lodging.
Is Your Job Too Cushy for Overtime?
The gist of the law is that manual work is eligible for overtime pay, but work that is mostly intellectual is not, since the latter category of jobs usually have higher pay. For example, managers and administrators do not get overtime. Of course, everyone who has worked as a restaurant or retail manager knows that these jobs involve upwards of 10,000 steps per day and plenty of heavy lifting. In some jobs, managers are responsible for filling in for all tasks when the store is short-staffed. Therefore, retail managers can get overtime pay if they spend more than 40% of their work time on non-management duties, such as stocking shelves or working the cash register. Other managers are eligible if they spend at least 20% of their time on non-management tasks, such as if a restaurant manager spends part of her shift waiting tables, washing dishes, cooking, or tending bar.
Are You Really an Independent Contractor, or is it Just an Excuse Not to Pay You More?
One tactic that employers use to avoid paying overtime, as well as to save money on taxes and to get out of providing insurance for workers, is to classify as many workers as possible as independent contractors. Employees can get overtime pay, but independent contractors cannot. If your employer has misclassified you as an independent contractor, contact an employment lawyer.
Do Not Let Your Employer Shortchange You Out of Overtime Pay
If you are working overtime, you deserve to get paid the overtime rate. McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C.’s wage and hour attorneys can help. Please call our office in Red Bank, New Jersey at 732-842-6500, our Marlton, New Jersey office at 856-985-9800, or our Newark, New Jersey office at 973-787-9040 to find out more.