Many employers in the oil and gas industry simplify their bookkeeping and streamline their payment processing by switching from an hourly rate pay schedule to a day rate or a shift rate for the work. This can be a great way for both the employer and employee to make the administrative work of tracking labor and payment easier, because it adds flexibility around start and stop time expectations, break time management, and other sideline issues that often increase the amount of effort it takes to track compensated time.
What many employers do not realize, and as a result many employees do not realize it either, is that non-exempt employees whose time at work exceeds federal overtime definitions do need to be paid for that overtime. It is an expectation of the law, and they are responsible for being sure that they track and compensate for that extra time. If your employer does not do this, it means you might be entitled to compensation.
How overtime works
The Federal overtime statute outlines how overtime is to be calculated for workers in non-exempt jobs:
- A maximum of 40 non-overtime hours may be scheduled/worked each week.
- The act also states that overtime should be paid for work on Saturdays, Sundays and when working in excess of eight hours each day.
- It does allow employers who work employees on holidays, weekends or for more than eight hours to skip paying overtime if the employee's total hours for the week remains under 40.
If these conditions describe your working situation, then your rate needs to be set to compensate for the time you are actually scheduled, and when you are asked to stay late, that overtime needs to be tracked and compensated according to a formula that can accurately track your extra earnings under the act.
The energy industry is especially at risk
The oil and gas industry is especially prone to the use of day rate calculations for labor, and many employers are diligent about avoiding the traps that can cause them to owe employees back wages. Still, there are lapses, and when that happens, you need a lawyer who understands the way overtime law works, and who can make sure you receive all the back pay you are entitled to.
For more information about how overtime works for day rate employees and to discuss whether or not you are owed compensation for unpaid wages, get in touch with an attorney today. There's no reason to avoid recovering your money.