Business is Great but the Sixty-Hour Workweek is Killing Me!

Perhaps your grandfather was a fledgling employee in 1929 at the bottom of the Great Depression. If he was like most workers, he clocked out at 5:00 and then went back to work for two or three more hours. This was more than employee loyalty. It was what you had to do to keep your job.

In 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and the Fair Labor Standards Act attempted to put the practice of overworking employees to an end. As a result, the law states that “nonexempt workers -those who aren’t managers or professionals performing certain highly skilled tasks- should be paid overtime (usually time and a half) for working beyond 40 hours a week.’

For many types of work, the rules are clear-cut, but new categories of jobs sometimes make it difficult to determine who is entitled to overtime and who isn’t. Attorney David Worley is seeing this firsthand. His workload of overtime-related lawsuits has doubled in the past two years. He believes this is a result of the booming economy. Employers are finding it difficult to fill positions with qualified workers, so existing employees are picking up the slack in the form of overtime.

” …the law was passed so that people would not be overworked, and the way that’s enforced is that the law requires you be paid time and a half. That’s not something employers and workers can negotiate around,” says Worley.

Employers without a clear understanding of who qualifies for overtime and who doesn’t commonly violate the law, and leave themselves open to lawsuits. If you find that your business requires excessive amounts of overtime from employees, you may want to consult with an human resource specialist at a PEO to be certain that you are in compliance with the FLSA.

(Joyner, Tammy. “As economy booms, OT disputes rise.” The Atlanta Constitution. Business; Pg. 1F.)