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Regular Hours Definition

October 12, 2016

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Term Definition

The number of hours a “nonexempt” employee may spend doing work for his or her employer without being entitled to overtime pay. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, that number is 40 hours per work week.

Extended Definition
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) mandates that a “nonexempt” employee may only spend 40 regular hours per work week. A work week is defined as a fixed seven-day, 168-hour regularly recurring period of time established and understood by the employer and employees; it may begin on any day, at any hour of the day, but remains the same from week to week. For any time a nonexempt employee works beyond regular hours in a workweek, the employee must be compensated at a rate of 1.5 times the employee’s usual hourly rate of pay. The employer is required to compensate the employee with overtime pay for time spent performing any job-related activity if:

  • the work done genuinely benefits the employer;
  • the employer knows or has reason to believe that the employee is doing the work  (meaning that the employer could discover this work by paying reasonable attention to the employee); and
  • the employer has not prohibited the employee from doing this work.

The employee need not be present on the job site or officially “on the clock” for hours spent doing work to count as overtime, as long as the work meets the aforementioned criteria and stands in excess of 40 regular hours per week. Leave, vacation, or paid sick time do not count toward these 40 regular hours for the purpose of determining overtime. Individual states may have additional laws governing regular hours and overtime pay, including limitations on the number of hours an employee may work per 24-hour day; employers are required to conform to the more stringent set of laws. Collective bargaining agreements do not exempt employers from FLSA requirements regarding overtime pay.

Related Blog Article:
To Which Employees Do Regular Hours and Overtime Apply?
What Are Regular Hours?

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