What is a Week for Calculating Overtime Pay?
Non-exempt employees must be paid time and a half for hours worked over 40 in a week. There is sometimes confusion about how to count a week, especially in cases where workers are paid every other week or bi-monthly.
For overtime purposes, a week is any single period of seven consecutive days. This usually runs from Sunday through Saturday for most employers. It does not have to start on a Sunday, but it has to start on the same day every week.
Overtime is not averaged over multiple weeks, even if you are paid every two weeks instead of weekly. This means you might be owed overtime even if you worked less than 80 total hours in a two-week period. In a two week paycheck, however, the company will report your total hours, not your hours per week.
If your schedule varies, this can be confusing to keep track of. For example, if you are a restaurant or retail worker who is assigned different shifts each week, you may work six shifts between Sunday and Saturday one week and only four the next. Assuming your employer starts the week on a Sunday, you will want to know the hours you put in the first week as they could easily exceed 40.
Learn more here about calculating overtime pay under Massachusetts and federal law.
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