Greensboro, NC -- The recession has certainly changed a lot of people's work schedules and work demands - so much so, more than 7,000 lawsuits were filed last year over unpaid overtime.
With that in mind, here are some of the rules for overtime, when you earn it and when you don't.
First, you have to know if you are an exempt or non-exempt employee.
Exempt employees can not earn overtime. They are employees designated as executive, administrative, or professional, outside sales employee, computer systems analysts, computer programmers, software engineers, and other similarly skilled computer employees.
Non-exempt employees do earn overtime, only if they make less than $455 per week.
And keep in mind, the U.S. government does not limit the number of hours an employee 16 and older can work.
The rate of overtime is quite familiar to most of us - one and one-half times an employee's regular rate of paid after 40 hours of work in a workweek.
You are not automatically paid overtime in the case that you work weekends, nights or holidays. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, that is up to the employer.
The "workweek" can be any seven consecutive days. It's not dependent on the calendar. But your employer can not average your hours over two weeks.
Each work week stands alone.
Your overtime check must be remitted to you on the day you're normally paid for the normal hours you worked.
And if your employer pays you a lump sum for overtime independent of the hours you actually worked, it does not cancel the employer's responsibility to pay you for each and every hour of overtime you paid.
It's important to note that there are exceptions to these rules. State and local government workers such as firefighters, law enforcement have different rules.
For more information straight from the U.S. Department of Labor, click here.