OVERTIME WAGE LAW IN WASHINGTON STATE

LAW OFFICE OF SCOTT MCKAY - Seattle, Washington

Seattle: (206) 992-5466

scottjmckay@hotmail.com

** HOW TO CALCULATE OVERTIME PAY**

There are several important rules that must be followed when calculating overtime pay.

**A. "Overtime hours" are all hours worked above 40 in a week.
**The first 40 hours of work each week are referred to as "

B. Overtime hours must be

of employment.

When calculating overtime wages, each week week of employment "stands alone" and may not be "averaged" or combined with any other week.

**C. Only Actual Hours of Work May Be Counted.
**Only hours that have been

Note:

**D. Calculating the Amount of Overtime Wages -- Which Method to Use?**

The law requires that all employees must be compensated for their overtime hours at a rate not less and one and one-half times the Regular Rate of Pay.

In most cases, it is easy to quickly determine how much overtime is due. However, in some cases this can actually be a bit tricky. This is because the proper method for computing overtime wages can differ depending upon how the employee is compensated, e.g., by the hour, by salary, or by commission.

** 1. Method for ****Hourly Employees.
**

Where an employee is paid by the hour, overtime pay is calculated by following three easy steps:

a.

b.

c.

a.

Where an employee's salary is intended to compensate him for a standard workweek of 40 hours, overtime pay is calculated by following three easy steps:

1.

2.

3.

1. Salary ($400/week) divided by 40 hours =

2. Regular Rate ($10/hour) x 1.5 =

3. Overtime Rate ($15/hour) x Overtime hours worked (5 hours) =

b.

Sometimes, employees are paid to work a

It is important to note, however, that besides being paid for thier ovetime, such employees must also recieve

As the following calcuations show, in additon to paying the salary of $300, the employer must also pay

1. Weekly salary ($300) divided by fixed workweek (30 hours) = Regular Rate ($10/hour)

2. Regular hours (hours under 40 per week) not covered by salary = 10 hours

3. Unpaid regular hours (10 hours) x Regular Rate ($10/hr) =

4. Regular Rate ($10/hr) x 1.5 = $15/her (Overtime Rate)

5. Overtime Rate ($15/hr) x overtime hours worked (15) =

6.

c.

Some employees are paid a salary for working a

In such cases, their overtime pay is generally calculated using the same method outlined immediately above. However, there is one

Although it may initially to be seem incorrect, employees who have agreed to work a fixed workweek of more than 40 hours (e.g., 50 hours)

2. Hours of overtime work that exceed the number of hours of work required by the salary must be compensated at 1.5 times the regular rate of pay.

Employees who agree to accept a salary for working a fixed number of hours over 40 per week (e.g., 50 hours per week), have, in effect, agreed that their salaries will cover not only the first 40 hours of work each week, but also whatever additional hours were contemplated by the salary. For example, if an employee agrees to accept a salary for working 45 hours each week, he has, in effect, agreed that the salary will cover 5 hours of overtime work each week.

Since the salary includes payment for these overtime hours, the employer does not have to pay for these overtime hours at the rate of 1.5 times the regular rate of pay. Instead, the employer need only make up the difference between what the law requires (1.5 times the regular rate) and what the emloyee actually recieved. In most cases, the difference is equivilent to .5 times the regular rate of pay.

This does not, however, in any way releive the employer for having to pay 1.5 wages for hours of work that were not covered by the salary. All hours not covered by the salary must, in all case, be paid at this standard rate.

Still confused? If you read the following example and then try to answer each question, everything will probably become obvious:

The answer can be determined by following these steps:

For at least some of the longerworthat aretHE A much different method must be used for employees who agree to accept fixed salaries with the understanding that their actual hours of work will vary from week to week. These types of arrangments are typically referred to as "fluctuating workweek" arrangements. men

Where the employee clearly understands that his/her weekly hours of work will vary and that the salary will serve as compensation for ALL hours worked during the week, however few or many they may be, then overtime wages must be computed using the following steps:

Although it may initially seem incorrect, employees who have knowingly agreed to work under a fluctuating workweek arrangement

Why? While the following answer may seem a bit confusing at first, it is quite logical.

Since the employee agreed to accept a fixed salary for working whatever number of hours were required each week, he has, in effect, agreed to be paid at a "straight-time" (1.0 times the regular rate of pay) rate for his overtime hours. The following questions and answers may help to clarify this:

Assume an employee agreed to accept a salary of $500 per week with the understanding that his total hours would vary from week to week. During one week the employee worked 10 hours, and during the following week he worked 50 hours.

Question 4: worked above 40. In other words, he has been wor his overtime rate of work has worked 50 total hours during the week, how much overtime is he entitled to, above his salary? Answer:

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