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Thursday, May 15, 2008

What's overtime?

In today's 24/7 business world, what's overtime?

Is it being on call after hours? Is it being expected to respond to late night emails? Is it getting work thrown at us close to 5 p.m when we can't possibly finish it in our 8-hour day? Already we are hearing discussion about whether BlackBerrys give rise to overtime pay.

Yesterday, this question of overtime came up a few times during the day at an Employment Law Seminar sponsored by Stearns & Weaver in Miami. Clearly, there's a movement afoot to squeeze more out of employees -- without paying them more.

When talking about the top 10 things supervisors do to drive you insane this one made the list: Tell subordinates "I do not want to see you working overtime, but this job better get done tomorrow and you figure out how to do it."

How many of you have heard that? I have my hand up.

For those that still do get overtime, the good news for Florida employees is the law says EVERYTHING has to go into calculating overtime -- wages and commissions and bonuses and referral fees. The bad news for those salaried employees who get overtime is that an employer legally can get away with paying overtime as half-time, not 1 1/2 times hourly rate.

Clearly, most of us want our personal time to stay just that. And you'll hear some say, they put in the overtime hours because they count on the pay. Now, the overtime discussion has me wondering, if pay is eliminated will there be an anti-overtime revolt?


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