Everybody knows that an hourly employee is entitled to 1&1/2 times the regular rate of pay for each hour worked over forty in a week. But, what about an employee who works more than one job for the same employer?
For example, say an employee works thirty hours in a week at Job A, and then 20 additional hours at Job B that same week. Does the employee get paid 10 hours overtime? What if the jobs pay different hourly rates? How would overtime be calculated then?
The answer can depend on many factors. If the employee works Job A and Job B for separate, unrelated employers, then neither employer should be responsible for overtime. But what constitues separate and unrelated can be tricky. What about an employee who works at two different stores of a retail chain? Or at a restaurant and office owned by the same company? What if the employee mows the lawn at the home of his boss on the weekend?
Answers to these questions cannot be generalized as every employment scenario is different, but it is no less important for an employer to get them answered. Penalties for not paying overtime can be double the back pay for as much as the previous three years. Moreover, the US Department of Labor does not normally view ignorance of the law, no matter how innocent, as a viable defense. Additional penalties can include an employee’s legal fees, and potential payroll tax consequences.
For employers with multiple businesses and locations, it is vital to determine responsibility for overtime pay before it becomes an issue. Consult an attorney now to avoid expensive consequences in the future