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How do OT hours break down? Massachusetts

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  • How do OT hours break down? Massachusetts

    First some background:

    My wife has recently taken on a job as an administrative assistant. She is paid hourly and (as I understand it) is non-exempt.

    Her weeks are set 8:00am-4:00pm Monday-Friday and normally she works a 40 hour week.

    Last week she was asked to stay late one day and worked 42 hours total from Monday-Friday. This week, to avoid paying two hours at time and a half, her employer has asked her to work only 38 hours.

    Her employer says that OT is calculated per pay period (2 weeks) and not on a weekly basis. This sounds wrong to me as (in an extreme case) the employer could ask for 60+ hours one week and <20 the next. Please note, no such thing has happened, I'm just looking to potential problems in the future.

    My question is:

    Is this employer cooking the books or is is it legal to balance hours across two week. I was always under the assumption that labor is calculated on a weekly basis.

    Thank you for any advice you might be able to provide.

  • #2
    Overtime IS calculated on a weekly basis. However, what you are suggesting is legal IF done correctly.

    To make the arithmetic easy, let's assume the weekly wage is $10 an hour. At a 40 hour week, bi-weekly pay schedule, that's a gross pay of $800 for two weeks.

    If 42 hours are worked in the first week, the employer MUST pay $430 - 40 hours at straight time totalling $400, and two hours at time and a half totalling $30.

    The employer may then legally require that 37 hours only be worked in the second week, for $370 gross, and a bi-weekly gross that is still only $800.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


    • #3
      Thank you very much for the response.

      In this case, she worked 2 hours additional on week one and was asked to work 2 hours less on week two. No OT was paid.

      From what you are saying, she would have had to take 3 hours off to make up for the difference.

      This is good to know!

      Thank you once again for all the wonderful advice everyone on this site has to offer. This is a fantastic help to those of us who need it!


      • #4
        And "making up the difference" as described is a matter of cash management only. It does not mean that the employer is excused from paying overtime in the workweek in which more than 40 hours is worked. The overtime pay still must be paid for the given workweek.
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


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