Federal overtime wage law is covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In Pennsylvania, these requirements are governed by the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (PMWA). Under both laws, employees must receive one and one-half times their regular wage rate for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek. The Bureau of Labor Law Compliance, part of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (PDLI), enforces overtime standards throughout the state.
The PWMA requires employers to compensate their employees with one and one-half times their regular wage rate for any overtime hours worked. Overtime hours are hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek.
An employee’s regular rate of pay is the actual rate of pay he or she receives for a standard, non-overtime workweek. Employers must calculate their employees’ regular wage rates before they can determine applicable overtime wages. An employee’s regular wage rate can vary from week to week and may be different from the employee’s contractual rate of pay.
A workweek consists of seven consecutive days starting on any day selected by the employer. The hours an employee works during one workweek cannot be used to offset the hours he or she works in previous or future workweeks.
Calculating the Regular Rate of Pay
To calculate an employee’s regular rate for a specific work period, employers must divide the employee’s total compensation for a workweek by the number of hours the employee worked during that period.
An employee’s total compensation is all compensation paid to the employee, whether directly or indirectly, in exchange for his or her services. This includes the employee’s wages, bonuses, tips and commissions, but does not include:
Business expense reimbursements
Bona fide gifts
Employer investment contributions
Payments for non-working hours (vacation, sick leave, jury duty)
Exceptions to Overtime Payment Laws
Generally, the following employee categories are exempt from PMWA overtime requirements:
Bona fide executive, administrative and professional employees;
Volunteers working for educational, charitable, religious or nonprofit organizations;
Motion picture theatre employees;
Religious or nonprofit educational conference center employees;
Salesmen and mechanics employed by a nonmanufacturing establishment primarily engaged in the business of selling vehicles to ultimate purchasers;
Elected officials and their staff;
Motor carrier employees subject to federal Department of Transportation regulations;
Television and radio announcers, news editors and chief engineers;
Newspaper delivery or publication employees (newspaper must have a circulation of less than 4,000 within the county or contiguous counties where the paper is published);
Public amusement, recreational establishment or organized camp employees;
Seasonal employees age 18 or younger (age 24 or younger, if students);
Sea vessel crew members;
Switchboard operators (working for an independently owned public telephone company with fewer than 750 stations); and
Maple sap and syrup processing employees.
Contact Apex Benefit Group for more information on Pennsylvania’s wage and hour laws.
This guide is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. It is provided for general informational purposes only. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice.