How to calculate overtime pay

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Written By Muhammad Abdullah

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Understanding the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which mandates that nonexempt, covered employees must get overtime compensation for hours worked more than 40 in a workweek at a rate not less than time and one-half their normal rates of pay, is only the beginning of calculating overtime pay. This federal legislation may appear straightforward, but after all, factors are taken into account, including pay base (such as hourly, salary, piece-rate, commission), flexible schedules, and other kinds of compensation (such as non-discretionary bonuses, shift pay), overtime calculations become a little more challenging.

Businesses must abide by state and municipal wage and hour rules in addition to the FLSA, which further complicates issues. Employers must use the overtime compensation rate that is most advantageous to the employee where these requirements diverge.

What is overtime pay?

Overtime pay, often known as premium pay or premium pay, is what the FLSA requires employers to give nonexempt workers who clock in for more than 40 hours each week. The federal rate is time and a half the usual rate of pay, as was previously said; however, states with their laws may demand daily overtime payments or double-time premium pay.

What is the FLSA regular rate of pay?

The average hourly wage for an employee is their normal rate of compensation. It is computed by dividing the entire compensation for labor performed during any workweek (except those covered by statutory exclusions) by the total number of hours actual.

How does overtime work?

Except in some places where premium pay is required daily, overtime is computed using the weekly. A workweek is defined by the FLSA as a fixed and recurring period of 168 hours, or seven separate 24-hour periods. It is unaffected by an employee’s pay frequency, such as bi-weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly, and may start on any day of the week and at any time of the day. Furthermore, each workweek is considered a separate unit, therefore averaging hours over two or more workweeks is not permissible.

Take a nonexempt worker, for instance, who works eight hours on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, ten hours on Thursday, and six hours on Friday. The FLSA’s weekly overtime threshold would not be met by this worker, however, depending on the applicable state labor legislation, he or she could be entitled to two hours of extra compensation for the hours worked on Thursday.

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Employees exempt from overtime

If an employee earns a salary that is higher than the FLSA’s minimum salary criteria and fulfills the requirements of one of the positions that have been designated as overtime-exempt, they may be exempt from the FLSA and not entitled to overtime. Executive, administrative, professional, outside sales and computer-related positions are among the most frequent exclusions.

How to calculate overtime pay for hourly employees

How to calculate overtime pay for hourly employees

When paying overtime to hourly workers who get a single rate of pay and no further compensation, the calculation is typically the simplest. Multiply the usual rate of compensation by 1.5, according to FLSA guidelines, then divide the amount by the total number of overtime hours worked.


A nonexempt, hourly worker puts in 46 hours per week and is paid $10 per hour. There is no overtime pay paid throughout the workweek and no state statute that applies that sets obligations above those of the FLSA. The following formula can be used to determine the total compensation owed for this employee, including the overtime premium:

  • $40 is the base wage at $10 per hour.
  • $10 times 1.5 is $15 in overtime compensation.
  • $6 in overtime equals $15 in overtime compensation.
  • Total pay is $490 ($400 + $90).

Calculating overtime for multiple pay rates

Nonexempt workers occasionally work extra hours, typically at unfavorable periods, in addition to their standard set hourly salary. A shift differential is this method of operation. Employers must compute the overtime premium owed for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek in certain situations using the blended rate or weighted average of all rates paid. It should be noted that the FLSA provides a provision that permits employers to pay overtime using the “rate in effect.” But most states forbid using this technique.


In a state that abides by the FLSA overtime regulations, a nonexempt employee works a total of 35 hours on the day shift for $12 per hour and an additional 10 hours on the midnight shift at $15 per hour throughout the course of a workweek. The following formula can be used to determine the total compensation owed to this employee for the workweek, including the overtime premium:

  • (570 base salary) is (35 hours x $12) plus (10 hours x $15).
  • $570 divided by 45 hours equals $12.67 in normal pay $12.67 multiplied by 0.5 equals $6.34 in overtime premium rate
  • Total overtime premium compensation is $31.70 ($6.34 x 5 overtime hours).
  • Total amount owing is $601.70 ($570 plus $31.70).

Overtime pay calculation for nonexempt employees earning a salary

A salary is meant to provide straight-time wages for the specified number of hours worked each week. To determine a nonexempt employee’s normal rate of pay under federal law, divide the weekly wage by the total number of hours worked.

Be aware that some states use a different formula to determine the normal rate of compensation for nonexempt workers who receive a salary. Employers are required to evaluate and follow any relevant state laws.


A nonexempt worker makes $1,200 per week for an estimated 40 hours of work. The person works an additional two hours one week to fulfill a deadline. The following formula can be used to determine the employee’s weekly total compensation, which includes the overtime premium:

  • $1,200 divided by 40 hours is $30 in normal salary.
  • $30 times 1.5 is $45 in overtime compensation.
  • $45 multiplied by 2 overtime hours is $90 in overtime premium compensation.
  • Total wages owed are $1,290 ($1,200 + $90).

Calculating overtime for a nonexempt employee that works a fluctuating workweek

As the preceding example demonstrates, it is simple to calculate overtime for nonexempt workers with constant workweeks, but what happens when the worker’s hours often change? If the following1 requirements are satisfied, the FLSA allows employers to pay certain employees for extra hours at one-half of their usual rate of pay:

  • Both the employer and the workers acknowledge that the wages represent compensation for all hours performed each week.
  • The shifts in the workers’ hours occur every week.
  • Even though they work fewer hours than their regularly scheduled hours, the employees still earn their agreed-upon compensation.
  • The pay of the employees is adequate to ensure that the regular rate never falls below the minimum wage.
  • Every hour of extra labor is compensated at least at half time for the employees.

Keep in mind that the changing workweek calculation approach is prohibited in some states. Employers are required to evaluate and follow any relevant state laws.


No of how many hours they work, non-exempt employees get paid $900 every week. The following formula can be used to determine the employee’s total compensation owed, which includes the overtime premium if they work 55 hours each workweek:

  • 900 dollars / 55 hours is $16.36 per hourly rate.
  • $8.18 is the overtime premium rate multiplied by $16.36.
  • 15 hours of overtime times $8.18 is $122.70 in overtime premium compensation.
  • Total amount due is $1,022.70 ($900 plus $122.70).

Calculating overtime pay for non-hourly compensation

Pay for overtime isn’t always calculated on an hourly or salary basis. The following sorts of extra remuneration must be taken into account when calculating overtime.

Piece-rate work

Employers commonly compensate their staff based on the number of finished components in the manufacturing sector and several other sectors. For instance, a toy factory may pay $2 per product for an assembly line worker. When overtime is done, employers often need to complete the following extra procedures in addition to paying the piece rate:

  • To calculate the regular rate of pay, divide the piece rate earnings by the number of hours worked.
  • The overtime premium rate is calculated by multiplying the usual rate of pay by 0.5.
  • multiplying the number of overtime hours worked by the overtime premium rate
  • To get the employee’s total pay, combine the piece rate and the overtime premium pay.

Non-discretionary bonuses and commission payments

A nonexempt employee’s nondiscretionary bonuses and commissions must be taken into account when determining their regular rate of compensation under the FLSA. Whether a bonus or commission payment is distributed according to the workweek or at another frequency, such as monthly, quarterly, or yearly, affects the computation technique.

It should be noted that certain states have procedures for determining the normal rate of pay for nonexempt workers who receive a one-time bonus. Employers are required to evaluate and follow any relevant state laws.

Overtime rules and regulations

Recall that for nonexempt workers who clock in at least 40 hours per week, the FLSA’s overtime computation ratio is 1.5 times the usual rate of pay. However, different states have different overtime rules. For example, non-exempt workers in California are entitled to overtime compensation at 1.5 times their usual rate of pay or two times their regular rate of pay, or double time, if they work more than a specific number of hours in a single workday. Employers can lower their risk by following the laws in each state regarding overtime.

Keeping proper records for overtime pay

According to the FLSA, payroll records, including overtime payments given to nonexempt workers, must be kept for at least three years. The timesheets or other records that demonstrate how the earnings were determined must also be kept for at least two years. Some states have their own rules for payroll recording, which could include greater time frames than those specified by the FLSA.


Congratulations! You now have a thorough grasp of how to correctly calculate overtime compensation. The regular rate of pay, hours worked, overtime rate, and method of calculating overtime compensation in various circumstances have all been covered as important factors in overtime pay calculations.

You may guarantee fair remuneration for employees and uphold compliance with labor laws and regulations by grasping these fundamental concepts. Keep in mind that overtime compensation is an important motivator and a way to recognize the extra time and effort that workers put into their jobs.


Q1: Are all employees eligible for overtime pay?

No, not every worker qualifies for overtime compensation. Based on certain conditions stated by labor regulations, exempt employees, such as those categorized as executive, administrative, or professional staff, may be excluded from overtime pay rules.

Q2: How do I determine the regular rate of pay?

To estimate the employee’s regular rate of pay, you must take into account all types of remuneration they have received, including the base hourly rate and any additional bonuses, commissions, or allowances.

Q3: Is overtime pay calculated on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis?

How your business structures its workweek affects how overtime compensation is calculated. Depending on the applicable labor regulations and business standards, overtime compensation is often computed every week, although it may also be calculated biweekly or monthly.

Q4: Can overtime pay vary depending on the number of hours worked?

The amount of overtime pay varies according to the number of hours performed over the typical workweek or another set period. For each hour worked over the predetermined cutoff, overtime compensation is typically computed at a rate of one and a half times the employee’s usual rate of pay.

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