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Am I eligible for overtime pay? Part II

The topic of overtime is far from straightforward. Employees who are considered exempt at the federal level may be nonexempt at the state level. Workweeks may vary from worksite to worksite (e.g. a construction worker may work eight hours a day and five days a week while a nurse may be on duty for four consecutive days 10 hours a day), making it difficult to determine who is eligible for overtime and who is not. Employees may not realize that holidays do not mandate overtime pay while employers may not be aware that they are obligated to compensate their employees for travel time.

The New York Labor Department states that any worker who works over 40 hours in a given workweek must be paid overtime. Overtime pay is defined as one and a half times the employee's standard rate of pay, which must be equal to or greater than minimum wage. Employees typically entitled to overtime pay include nannies, domestic workers and even undocumented workers. The exception to this rule is those FLSA.

In a dispute about whether overtime is owed, New York State overtime laws puts the onus on employers for proving whether or not workers worked sufficient hours for receiving overtime pay. If an employer cannot produce records that demonstrate how many hours an employee worked each week, the employee may rely on his or her memory to make his or her case. It is also illegal for an employer to retaliate in any way against a worker who files a wage complaint.

Overtime pay is not a straightforward topic. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the federal government's attempt to help determine which workers are eligible for overtime pay and which are not. However, individual states have also created their own laws. And in situations where the laws differ, the state laws usually take precedence. A labor attorney can help you determine if your employer has illegally withheld overtime pay from you and help you earn the back pay to which you are entitled.

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