Overtime: What are My Rights?

December 19, 2015

In Georgia, whether an employee is entitled to overtime wages is governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Fair Labor Standards Act is a federal law that sets the minimum standards. The law applied nationwide. Individual states are able to pass laws, which provide their citizens with greater protections than are provided by federal laws. According to the Georgia Department of Labor, the FLSA is more exacting than Georgia law. Therefore, employers in Georgia will be in compliance with Georgia laws and federal laws if they comply with the FLSA.

Whether an employee is entitled to overtime wages depends on a whether their employer is required to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act and whether their position is exempt from overtime pay.

When Does the Fair Labor Standards Act Apply?

The FLSA applies to any employer who engages in interstate commerce. This includes any business with revenues or sales of at least $500,000.00 per year, or any business that operates a hospital, an institution caring for the sick, elderly, or the mentally ill who reside on the premises; a school for mentally or physically disabled or gifted children; a preschool, an elementary or secondary school, or an institution of higher education (either for profit or not for profit), or is a public agency.

It also protects employees of firms involved with interstate commerce including those who: work in communications or transportation; regularly use the mails, telephones, or telegraph for interstate communication, keep records of interstate transactions; handle, ship, or receive goods moving in interstate commerce; regularly cross State lines in the course of employment; or work for independent employers who contract to do clerical, custodial, maintenance, or other work for firms engaged in interstate commerce or in the production of goods for interstate commerce. Domestic service workers, housekeepers, chauffeurs, cooks, or full-time babysitters are covered if they earn at least $1,700 from one employer in a calendar year, or if they work a total of more than 8 hours a week for one or more employer.

Hourly Employees

Under the law, non-exempt, hourly employees must be paid a minimum wage, which is $5.15 per hour in Georgia, compared to thefederal minimum of $7.25 per hour. When a non-exempt, hourly employee works more than forty hours in a week (defined as seven consecutive worked days) the employer must pay the employee one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for every hour over forty worked that week. Some states have daily overtime limits which entitles any employee who works for more than a certain number of hours in a single day to be paid overtime. However, Georgia does not have a daily overtime limit and instead computes it on the basis of total hours worked for the week.

Salaried Employees

Employees who work in executive, administrative, or professional capacities (including teachers and computer-related professions) and are paid on a salary basis are exempt from the FLSA act. Therefore, employers are not required to pay them overtime wages for hours worked in excess of forty hours in a week, which is defined at seven consecutive worked days.

Exemptions from Overtime Pay

According to the US Department of Labor, certain jobs, whether they’re salaried or hourly jobs, are exempt under the FLSA. These include, but are not limited to:

  1. Seasonal amusement park employees, certain small newspapers, seamen employed on foreign vessels, employees engaged in fishing operations, and employees engaged in newspaper delivery;
  2. Farmworkers;
  3. Casual babysitters and persons employed as companions to the elderly or infirm;
  4. Certain commissioned employees of retail or service establishments; auto, truck, trailer, farm implement, boat, or aircraft sales-workers; or parts-clerks and mechanics servicing autos, trucks, or farm implements, who are employed by non-manufacturing establishments primarily engaged in selling these items to ultimate purchasers;
  5. Employees of railroads and air carriers, taxi drivers, certain employees of motor carriers, seamen on American vessels, and local delivery employees paid on approved trip rate plans;
  6. Announcers, news editors, and chief engineers of certain non-metropolitan broadcasting stations;
  7. Domestic service workers living in the employer’s residence;
  8. Employees of motion picture theaters.

* For a more complete look visit the US Department of Labor website at or the Georgia Department of Labor site.

The Obama Administration announced a plan to propose new rules that will drastically increase the number of people eligible to receive overtime pay.

Recent Georgia Case

A 2014 Georgia Court of Appeals case examined whether a captain in a particular fire department is overtime-exempt. The case looked at whether the employees spent the majority of their time on management functions, including supervising other employees. Fire captains in the County supervise the activities of the fire company and subordinate personnel. The Plaintiffs claimed they were misclassified under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and should have been entitled to overtime. The Court concluded the Plaintiffs provided no evidence showing that they did not spend the majority of their time on supervisory or management duties. Therefore, the Plaintiffs have failed to support their claim and their case was dismissed.

How to File a Complaint

If you believe your employer is breaking the law, please reach out to PCW Law. Contact us, and we’ll walk you through how to file a complaint.

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