Everyone who works has a right to minimum wage and overtime compensation. The overtime compensation requirement is linked to hours worked in any given payroll week. Accordingly, no overtime pay is required just because somebody works more than eight hours a day or on a weekend.

As a rule a full-time job is considered to be 40 hours a week. This rule applies to non-residential employees, i.e. those who don’t live where they work. There are some exceptions for farmers and until recently there were similar exceptions for home care workers. For residential employees (“live-in” workers) a payroll week is considered to be 44 hours.

According to law an employer should pay an employee (with few exceptions related, for instance to exempt status) for overtime at a wage rate of one and a half times the employee’s regular rate for hours worked in excess of 40/44 hours in a work week.

Federal law makes some exceptions from the overtime pay rules in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). These exceptions, which are usually called “exemptions,” are narrowly designed to favor the employees. For instance, employees who perform both exempt and non-exempt duties during the same workweek are usually considered to be not exempt in this workweek. The burden to justify the exempt status of certain employees is on the employer.

The most common exemptions include:

  • Commissioned sales employees (if more than half what they earn comes from commissions and they have no less than one and a half times the minimum wage for their every working hour)
  • Computer professionals (earning at least $27.63 an hour)
  • Drivers, driver’s helpers, loaders and mechanics
  • Farmworkers (who work on small farms)
  • Seasonal and recreational establishments employees
  • Executive, administrative, professional employees
  • outside sales employee

The state of New York generally follows these federal exceptions.