Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a law that allows private-sector employers to allow employees to earn Paid Time Off (PTO) instead of overtime pay. H.R. 1180, the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017, amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Under the act, an employee may receive “compensatory time off at a rate not less than one and one-half hours” for each hour of work that overtime pay is required. This means that, instead of receiving overtime pay in their next paycheck, an employee may earn PTO that they may use at a later date that is approved by the employer.
In November 2014, employees of Alice’s Tea Cup LLC, a Manhattan café chain alleged that during their employment, they were not paid overtime for days when they worked more than 10 hours. Alice’s Tea Cup has three locations in New York City.
Recently, the United States Supreme Court ruled that companies are not obliged to pay employees for the time they spend undergoing security checks at the end of their shifts.
The case presenting the issue of overtime pay involved the elite online marketplace Amazon.com and employees of a company in Nevada responsible for processing and shipping amazon purchases. Specifically, the employees of the Nevada company had sued the company for back wages and overtime pay. They claimed that they should have been compensated for time spent in security screenings. While the employees claimed that such screenings, designed to prevent against theft, took up to 30-minutes, Amazon maintained, that the screening process is designed to take 90-seconds per employee.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) automatically qualifies certain types of workers who meet overtime pay requirements for guaranteed overtime for all hours worked over 40 in a single week (or daily overtime limits set by New York overtime laws). If your work involves manual labor (such as construction worker, factory attendant, cashier, etc.) you most likely fall within the protections of overtime law.