Overtime laws in Pennsylvania dictate how much money employers have to pay when their employees work beyond the federally mandated maximum of 40 hours per week. Federal and state labor laws provide rules for how much workers must be compensated for their hourly work and, by extension, their overtime work.
Overtime rules in Pennsylvania and minimum wage
The amount of overtime to which you are entitled is based on your regular rate of pay whether you are an hourly or salaried employee. Pennsylvania law must follow federal law with regard to minimum salary. The minimum wage act requires all employers to provide employees earnings or basic minimum wage at $7.25 per hour for up to 40 hours, after which state regulations, state law, and federal rules dictate you receive overtime. Paid overtime applies only to your overtime hours worked.
You must receive compensation for overtime on the next paycheck. If, for example, you get your weekly salary, you should see any overtime hours included on the following paycheck. On your paycheck you should see:
- How many hours you worked
- How much you earned
- What overtime hours you worked
- How much overtime you earned
- Beginning and end dates for the given pay period
What is the “regular rate” of pay?
In Pennsylvania, the term regular rate of pay refers to how much you get paid regularly for each hour you work — your average wages. Anything beyond 40 hours at your regular rate is subject to overtime rules.
Overtime laws in Pennsylvania
The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act became law on Wednesday, January 1, 2020. This is a federal law which mandates all states, including Pennsylvania, provide compensation for overtime pay in compliance with federal minimums.
During a given work week, any hours an employee works beyond 40 hours qualifies for overtime pay. In Pennsylvania the current overtime pay rate is the same as the federal level: 1.5 times a standard rate of pay. While your employer can legally force you to work overtime, they must provide you with compensation to match it.
Employers are required now by law to provide overtime compensation as money. They cannot offer employees things like extra days off instead of overtime pay.
In Pennsylvania there are no limits on overtime pay based on the size of the company. All companies, whether they have two employees or 200 employees, must provide compensation for overtime.
Exemptions under Pennsylvania overtime law
There are exemptions to this, but not as many as there were before.
Previously, there were situations where employees tried to circumvent paying overtime in Pennsylvania. One of those is providing employees with a salary rather than an hourly paycheck. In theory, putting employees on salary can increase the number of hours they work, without requiring the company to pay them for overtime.
However, the new law requires employers to pay employees overtime even if they are salaried employees. Now, the weekly amount earned on salary (or monthly amount divided by four weeks) is used to calculate the equivalent hourly rate for the salaried employees which is then used to determine overtime pay.
For example: If a salaried employee makes $2,600 per month, that is the equivalent of $650 per week. Divided by a traditional 40 hour workweek, this equates to $16.25 per hour. So, for any time beyond the 40 hours worked, said salaried employee would be entitled to 1.5 times the $16.25 rate.
That said, there are some overtime exemptions including exempt employees. You will know if you are an exempt employee because exemptions are included in work contracts. Some examples of exempt employees include business owners or C-suite executives.
There are also specific industries and jobs which are exempt from overtime pay, including:
- Maple syrup producers
- Taxicab drivers
- Sales people in the automotive industry, truck industry, or aircraft industry
- Mechanics in the automotive industry, truck industry, or aircraft industry
- Employees of movie theaters
PA overtime laws and Overdue Overtime
If you are owed overtime, but your employer has not paid you, you can file a claim for unpaid overtime. You have three years from the date your overtime was earned to file a claim for compensation. Federal law is only two years, but Pennsylvania state is three.
If your overtime is more than 30 days past due, then your employer owes you an additional 25% on top of the overtime compensation.
You are able to file a claim under both:
- Pennsylvania state overtime law and
- The Federal Labor Standards Act
Both claims can be filed concurrently. You do not necessarily need to have a Pennsylvania-based lawyer to file your claim for overdue overtime. The federal court can enforce both laws at the federal and state level. However, if you do opt to pursue a claim, you will need to proceed in one of three federal court districts in the state.
Overall, the rules regulating overtime pay in Pennsylvania have been updated in 2020, making them much more aligned with federal law. You are entitled to overtime pay for any hours worked beyond 40, with few exceptions. If you are a salaried employee, your salary is used to determine your relative hourly rate. The hourly rate is then multiplied by 1.5 to produce your overtime figure. If you have unpaid overtime, you can pursue compensation for up to three years at the state and federal level.