Overtime myths can circulate in any line of work, and the restaurant industry is no exception. Some of the most prevalent myths deal with wages and overtime. As an employer, it is vital that you don’t fall for these myths because they could lead to unnecessary disputes, lawsuits or compliance penalties.
An Employee Can Waive the Right to Overtime
Sometimes employers get the idea that if an employee is willing to work longer hours and waive overtime, it works out well for both of them. However, under the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) , when an employee who is not an exempt employee (not a manager, executive, etc.) works overtime (over 40 hours in a workweek), employers must pay the employee for overtime. A workweek can begin or end on any day that the employer designates.
In fact, an employee, who waived overtime, actually has the legal right to turn around and sue the employer for overtime pay.
An Employer Can Compensate an Employer in Other Ways than Paying Overtime
Another myth is that an employer can compensate an employee who works more than 40 hours by giving the employee extra time off called compensatory time or “comp time.” Employers cannot compensate in ways other than paying overtime. The FLSA requires overtime work to be paid at a rate of not less than one and a half times the employee’s regular pay rate.
An Employer Does Not Have to Pay Overtime for Unauthorized Overtime Work
It can be frustrating for employers who instruct their employees not to work over 40 hours and discover that unauthorized work was done. Employers may feel justified in not paying the employee overtime. However, overtime work must be paid, whether it was authorized or not. Employers can devise other ways to penalize employees who work unauthorized over their 40 hours but they cannot deny them overtime pay.
Legal Representation for Employers
When you have questions about overtime, wage and hour or other employment issues, it is wise to consult with an experienced employment law defense attorney. Stephen Hans & Associates has assisted employers for more than two decades with employment issues.