RemotePad Logo

What is an Employer of Record

How to hire globally with an EOR

What is a Global PEO

An alternative to EOR

What is a PEO

Hire locally with a PEO

Our Methodology

Why you can trust our guides

Hire Globally

Find international talents

Outsource Recruitment

How to outsource recruitment

Work Visas

How to get a work visa

Digital Nomad Visas

Get a digital nomad visa

Best Employer of Record (EOR)

Hire globally with the best EOR companies

Best Contractor Management

Hire and pay contractors and freelancers

Best Global PEO

Discover the best international co-employers

Best PEO Companies

Save on payroll and HR costs

Best Background Check Companies

Screen employees before hire

Best Global Payroll Providers

Outsource international payroll

Best Relocation Services

Relocate employees internationally

International Company Registration

Get help to incorporate overseas

All Reviews

Compare all providers

1. Horizons

Best Global EOR

2. Remote

Best EOR for Compliance

3. Deel

Best EOR Platform

4. Papaya Global

Best EOR for Payments

All EOR Reviews

Compare all providers

Where do you need a service provider?

All Countries

Explore our detailed guides for professional advice on international growth, recruitment, compensations strategies, and a curated list of top service providers.

9 min read

How to Calculate Overtime Pay: A Step-by-Step Guide for Employers

How to Calculate Overtime Pay: A Step-by-Step Guide for Employers

Properly calculating overtime pay requires knowledge of the applicable labor laws, which generally dictate a premium pay rate for overtime hours. For hourly employees, this typically means earning one and a half times their regular hourly rate for any time worked beyond the standard 40-hour workweek. However, calculating overtime for salaried employees might involve different methods, as their pay structure is not based on an hourly rate. Employers must also be aware of special overtime calculation scenarios that might apply to their employees based on the rules set forth by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or state laws.

Key Takeaways

  • Accurate overtime calculations are imperative for compliance with labor laws.
  • Overtime pay typically equals one and a half times the employee’s regular rate.
  • Methods for calculating overtime vary between hourly and salaried employees.

Understanding Overtime Pay

Overtime pay is a critical component of employee compensation, entitling workers to enhanced pay rates for hours worked beyond the standard 40-hour workweek. Both employers and employees must understand the legal framework and the varying rates that may apply to overtime work.

Legal Basics of Overtime Pay Under FLSA

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets forth the federal regulations for overtime pay. According to the FLSA, non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay at a rate of time and a half for any hours worked over 40 in a single workweek. Specifically, the overtime rate under the FLSA is one and one-half times the employee’s regular pay rate. This law ensures that workers receive fair compensation for extended work hours, safeguarding their rights and livelihood.

Different Types of Overtime Rates

While time and a half is the standard overtime rate, some situations dictate alternative overtime rates, such as double time. Double time is typically paid for hours worked on holidays or more than 12 hours a day, depending on state laws or employment contracts.

  • Time and a half: 1.5 times the regular pay rate for hours over 40 in a workweek.
  • Double time: 2 times the regular pay rate, which may apply in specific circumstances.

Employers must comply with overtime regulations to avoid legal consequences and maintain a fair and ethical workplace. Employees should be vigilant in understanding their rights to be properly compensated for overtime hours.

Eligibility Criteria for Overtime Pay

Determining who is eligible for overtime pay hinges on specific criteria outlined by federal regulations. Two key areas of consideration are the types of employee exemptions and the guidelines set by the Department of Labor.

Exemptions for Certain Types of Employees

Employees considered exempt from overtime pay typically fall into executive, administrative, and professional roles. These exempt employees often have managerial duties, involve office or non-manual work related to business operations, or require specialized academic training. Specific exemptions also exist for outside sales representatives and certain computer-related jobs. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) enumerates these exemptions and defines the criteria an employee must meet to be categorized as exempt.

  • Executive: Manages a business entity or department, regularly directs the work of two or more employees, and has hiring and firing authority.
  • Administrative: Performs office or non-manual work directly related to management and exercises discretion and independent judgment.
  • Professional: Engaged in work requiring advanced knowledge typically obtained through specialized education.
  • Outside Sales: Regularly engaged away from the employer’s place of business in making sales or obtaining orders.
  • Computer-Related: Primarily engaged in computer systems analysis, programming, and other functions.

Criteria Set by the Department of Labor

The Department of Labor (DOL) stipulates the criteria for overtime eligibility. Non-exempt employees—those not falling into the exempt categories—are typically eligible for overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours per week. The FLSA requires overtime pay to be at least one and a half times the employee’s regular pay rate. The DOL has set a salary threshold below which employees must be paid overtime; in 2020, this was set at $684 per week.

  • Non-exempt employees: Must receive overtime at 1.5 times their regular rate for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek.
  • Salary threshold: Determines the baseline salary below which employees are eligible for overtime, subject to updates by the DOL.

Understanding these categories and the associated criteria is essential for employers to comply with labor laws and for employees to understand their rights regarding overtime compensation.

Calculating Overtime Pay for Hourly Employees

Accurately calculating overtime pay is crucial for compliance with labor laws and ensuring fair compensation for hourly employees. It involves understanding the regular hourly rate and applying the correct overtime multipliers based on the overtime hours worked.

Determining the Regular Hourly Rate

Calculating overtime pay begins by establishing the regular hourly rate of pay. This rate is typically the standard amount an employee receives for each hour of work during a normal workweek, not exceeding 40 hours. The regular hourly rate forms the basis of overtime calculations and should include all monetary forms of compensation, such as non-discretionary bonuses.

How to Calculate Time and a Half

The overtime rate, commonly called time and a half, is 1.5 times the regular hourly rate. To calculate overtime at this rate, one multiplies the regular hourly rate by 1.5. Then, multiply the resulting overtime hourly rate by the overtime hours worked during a workweek.

  • Regular hourly rate: $20/hour
  • Overtime hourly rate at time and a half: $20 x 1.5 = $30/hour

For an employee who worked five overtime hours, the calculation would be:

  • 5 hours x $30/hour = $150

Calculating Double Time Pay

Some situations may require double-time pay, which is twice the regular hourly rate. The calculation is similar to time and a half but uses a multiplier of 2.

  • Overtime hourly rate at double time: $20 x 2 = $40/hour

If an employee is entitled to double time for three overtime hours, the math would be:

  • 3 hours x $40/hour = $120

Calculating overtime pay for hourly employees can be simplified with an overtime calculator that considers these rates and multiplies them by the hours worked beyond the standard workweek.

Calculating Overtime for Salaried Employees

When calculating overtime for salaried employees, it is crucial to understand the specific guidelines put forth by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Employers need to discern eligibility, accurately convert salary to an hourly equivalent, and determine the inclusion of any nondiscretionary bonuses in the overtime calculation.

Determining Eligibility for Salaried Workers

Not all salaried employees are entitled to receive overtime pay. Whether a salaried worker is eligible for overtime depends on their job duties and their minimum salary. Under FLSA regulations, employees who make less than a specific threshold and perform non-exempt job duties are typically eligible for overtime. Employers must carefully review the duties test and salary basis to ensure compliance.

Converting Salary to an Hourly Equivalent

One must convert their salary into hourly wages to calculate overtime for an eligible salaried employee. This involves dividing the salary by the number of regular work hours, which the FLSA assumes to be 40 hours per week. The resulting figure is the regular rate of pay that will be used to determine overtime premiums. When a salaried employee works beyond the standard 40-hour workweek, employers are required to pay at least one and one-half times the regular pay rate for the hours worked over 40.

Inclusion of Bonuses in Overtime Calculation

If a salaried employee receives nondiscretionary bonuses, these must be included in the overtime pay calculation. Nondiscretionary bonuses are announced to employees to encourage them to work more steadily, rapidly, or efficiently and are included in the determination of their regular rate of pay. To calculate overtime with these bonuses, employers should add the bonus to the total salary paid and then recalculate the regular pay rate to obtain the correct overtime rate. The method of calculating this weighted average will depend on whether the bonus is paid weekly, monthly, or on some other basis.

Calculating overtime pay for salaried employees requires careful attention to federal law and accurate wage computations to maintain compliance and fairness in employee compensation.

Special Overtime Calculation Scenarios

This section examines the more complex aspects of overtime pay that go beyond the standard time-and-a-half for weekly hours exceeding 40.

Daily Overtime and State-Specific Rules

In some states, such as California, daily overtime must be calculated when an employee works more than a standard eight-hour workday. California law mandates that employees receive one and a half times their standard rate for hours worked past eight up to 12 and double time for any work beyond 12 hours in a single day. Additionally, the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek warrants overtime pay, with the first eight hours paid at one and a half times and any hours beyond at triple time.

Calculating Overtime on Commissions and Bonuses

Calculating overtime for employees earning commissions or nondiscretionary bonuses involves incorporating these additional earnings into the regular pay rate. A non-discretionary bonus, which is agreed upon in advance and expected, must be included in determining the regular rate for overtime calculations. To do this, the commission or bonus is spread out over the period earned to find the new hourly rate, which is then used to calculate overtime pay.

Handling Multiple Overtime Rates

When employees are subject to different overtime rates in a single pay period, such as daily and weekly overtime, employers must track all hours accurately to apply the correct overtime rate. An employee might be eligible for time and a half for certain overtime hours and double time for others, depending on the total hours worked and by adhering to federal and state regulations. Each set of overtime hours must be calculated separately at their corresponding rates to ensure compliance and to determine the employee’s total overtime earnings.

Record Keeping and Compliance

Employers must maintain precise records and adhere strictly to labor laws about overtime pay. Consistent documentation and adherence to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requirements are critical for legal and financial compliance.

Documenting Work Hours and Overtime

Employers are responsible for documenting all hours their employees work, including regular hours and overtime. Each workweek, typically defined as seven consecutive 24-hour periods, should be clearly accounted for. Overtime is usually any hours worked beyond 40 hours within this timeframe. It is crucial to have a system in place that accurately tracks and records these hours for each pay period.

  • Timekeeping System: Must be reliable and precise.
  • Overtime Records: Should include the number of overtime hours worked and when.
  • Employee Acknowledgement: Confirmation of work hours by the employee is advisable.

FLSA Requirements for Employers

Under the FLSA, employers must pay eligible employees overtime at one and a half times their regular pay rate for hours worked over 40 per workweek. The Department of Labor oversees compliance with these regulations, and adherence is non-negotiable.

  • Overtime Rate Calculation: At least 1.5 times the employee’s normal rate.
  • Record Keeping Requirements:
    Personal information (e.g., name, occupation)
    Hourly pay rate
    Hours worked each day and total for the workweek
    Total daily or weekly straight-time earnings
    Total overtime earnings for the workweek
    All additions or deductions from the employee’s wages
    Total wages paid each pay period
  • Retention Period: Keep records for at least three years.

Compliance with these regulations is mandatory to avoid legal consequences, including potential fines. Employers should regularly audit their record-keeping practices to ensure they meet FLSA standards.

Additional Considerations

When exploring the realm of overtime pay, it is important to consider the nuances associated with alternative work arrangements and the status of independent contractors. Different rules may apply to these groups, and understanding these can ensure accurate calculation and compliance.

Overtime for Alternative Work Arrangements

For full-time employees working under alternative work arrangements, such as a compressed workweek or a bi-weekly work period, overtime pay calculations can differ from the standard 40-hour workweek model. For these employees, any work time beyond the fixed and regularly recurring period agreed upon, which could be 80 hours over two weeks or a different agreed number of hours in a workweek, may qualify for overtime. Employers must know the normal hourly rate adjustments and eligibility criteria for nonexempt employees, ensuring overtime pay is calculated correctly.

Understanding Overtime for Independent Contractors

Unlike full-time or nonexempt employees, independent contractors and freelancers are typically not eligible for overtime pay. They are usually paid based on the terms specified in their contract, and this typically does not include additional pay for hours worked beyond a standard workweek. However, employers need to classify workers since misclassification can lead to legal issues correctly. Both parties must understand that overtime laws generally do not cover independent contractors. Still, if an independent contractor is, in fact, an incorrectly classified employee, they might be entitled to overtime pay.


The standard formula for computing overtime wages is to multiply the employee's regular hourly wage by 1.5 times for each hour worked beyond the standard workweek, typically 40 hours. For an in-depth explanation, refer to Indeed's guide on calculating overtime.

The overtime rate for an hourly employee is typically determined by taking the regular hourly pay rate and multiplying it by 1.5. If employees earn $20 per hour, their overtime pay rate would be $30 per hour. More details are available through Forbes' overtime calculation guide.

Calculating overtime according to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) involves determining the employee's regular pay rate and then applying the time-and-a-half rule for any hours worked over 40 in a workweek. ADP offers resources that further outline FLSA compliance.

To compute overtime compensation in Excel, a user will input the regular hourly wage, standard hours, and overtime hours into a spreadsheet. Formulas are then applied to calculate the overtime pay by multiplying overtime hours by the overtime rate. Tips and steps could be explored further by researching tailored Excel tutorial resources online.

Daily overtime is calculated based on exceeding a certain number of hours in a single day, while weekly overtime is based on the total number of hours worked in a week. Certain states mandate daily overtime after 8 hours, contrasting the 40-hour weekly standard. ADP's overtime resources may provide additional clarification.

Overtime pay adjustments for different hourly wages involve multiplying the base hourly wage by 1.5 for overtime rate calculation. At $15 per hour, the overtime rate would be $22.50 per hour, whereas at $30 per hour, it would be $45 per hour. This calculation remains constant regardless of the base hourly wage. Information can be verified through reputable employment law references or financial advisory services.

At RemotePad, Lech draws on his professional experience to write about employment taxes and payroll (both remote, and in-office). Lech holds a Bachelors’ degree from the University of Kent, a Master of Arts (MA) from Kings College London, and professional payroll and tax qualifications. He has 20 years experience advising on all manner of tax and business planning matters.