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Global Work Glossary

Lost in a maze of global employment jargon? Find your way out with our handy collection of work and HR terminology

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Overtime Pay

What is Overtime Pay?

Overtime pay is the additional compensation paid to eligible employees for hours worked beyond the standard working hours set by an employer, typically defined by national or state employment laws. This type of pay is designed to compensate employees fairly for exceeding the usual hours of work.

Function and Legal Basis

The primary function of overtime pay is to dissuade employers from keeping workers for excessively long hours and to compensate employees for their extended productivity. In the United States, for example, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that employees covered by the Act receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek at a rate not less than time and one-half their regular rates of pay.

Benefits and Challenges

The benefit of overtime pay for employees is clear—it boosts earnings and compensates for longer working hours. For employers, while it can increase payroll costs, it also provides the flexibility to manage peak periods without hiring additional staff. However, challenges arise in managing compliance with varying local and international laws, which can differ significantly in terms of who qualifies for overtime and how it is calculated.

Strategic Importance

For businesses, effectively managing overtime can help control labor costs and improve workforce efficiency. It’s crucial for employers to understand and adhere to applicable overtime laws to avoid legal penalties and to maintain a motivated and productive workforce.

Overtime pay is a fundamental aspect of employment compensation that benefits employees and helps regulate the balance between work and life. Employers must carefully navigate the rules and regulations of overtime to maintain compliance and optimize their workforce management strategies.

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