Overtime wages exist, in part, to encourage businesses to limit how much work they demand from their employees. Companies once could force their workers to stay for dangerously long shifts and refuse to give them a day off. Establishing overtime pay rights helped protect workers from abuse and from termination if they stood up for themselves over abusive scheduling and work demands.
Needing to pay more per hour for labor is a strong incentive for companies to be realistic in their demands on employee time. It can also lead to them employing more workers to avoid needing overtime support from their hourly staff.
Federal and Kentucky state overtime laws require employers to pay workers at least 150% of their average hourly wage in certain qualifying circumstances. When do workers get to claim overtime wages in Kentucky?
Kentucky’s overtime law is similar to the federal rule
The federal overtime rule established under the Fair Labor Standards Act requires overtime pay when workers put in more than 40 hours in a given week. Companies can choose when they start and stop the week, but the work week should remain consistent. Companies can’t shift it just to avoid paying overtime wages.
Kentucky’s rule is similar to the federal one. Overtime wages apply to hours worked beyond 40, not to holidays or weekends. However, Kentucky does have a secondary rule that applies to workers who don’t get a day off. In some situations, those who work seven consecutive days may also have a claim to overtime wages under state law.
Which workers can claim overtime?
Hourly workers usually have a straightforward claim to overtime pay when they put in more than 40 hours in a specific week. Many salaried workers are exempt from overtime pay, but not all of them are. Lower salaries may make a worker bilge for overtime just like an hourly worker.
Non-exempt salary workers and employees paid hourly but misclassified as contractors may have to take legal action against their employers to get the overtime wages they deserve. When you know what overtime and employment rules apply to you, you are in a better position to get the wages you deserve.