Can your employer average multiple weeks to avoid overtime?

Generally speaking, overtime is paid to employees who work more than 40 hours in a single week. They deserve to be paid at time and a half their normal rate for all this extra time.

Your employer may not want to do that, so can they average out longer periods of time to get you back down to 40 hours per week? For instance, if you worked 50 hours one week, could they tell you to just work 30 hours the next week? That would give you an average of 40 hours per week over the two-week period, and they may then claim that they only have to pay you at your normal rate for all of those hours.

If your employer does this, they’re breaking the law

Your employer may explain this and believe that it’s logical, but it is not allowed under New York law. Employers are not supposed to average your hours out over multiple weeks, whether that means two weeks or far more. They have to consider calculating the overtime each week. If you go over 40 hours, then you are entitled to overtime pay, even if you worked fewer hours the week before or the week after – or if you didn’t work at all.

Your employer may not know that they’re breaking the law. They might have just thought this idea up on their own, failed to check what the legal standards are, and decided that they would do it because it makes sense to them. That still doesn’t mean that it’s right, and you are losing wages that you’re owed. 

If this happens to you, or if it has been happening for a long time, you may want to consider looking into all of the legal steps that you can take to get the money that you are due.

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