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When Must Overtime be paid?
FLSA regulations require the overtime premium of 50% for any hours physically worked over 40 hours per workweek. Note that overtime is paid only for time worked, not time compensated. Therefore, overtime need not be paid when time worked is less than 40 hours in the week but the employee receives sick pay, holiday pay, vacation pay, jury duty pay, or similar pay for un-worked hours and the time worked exceeds 40 hours.

The FLSA does not require an overtime premium for work on Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays unless actual overtime is incurred (although many companies do pay overtime for such hours). Nor are employers required to pay an overtime premium when employees work more than eight hours in one day. With the exception of fire protection, law enforcement, and hospital employees, overtime is based on having physically worked more than 40 hours during a workweek.

State Regulations
State rules on overtime may differ from the federal regulations. Company policies on overtime and union contracts may also differ from the federal regulations. Generally, a company must follow the rule that most benefits the employee—federal regulations, state laws, company policies, or union contracts.

Defining the Workweek
A workweek is defined by the FLSA as a fixed, recurring period of 168 consecutive hours (7 days x 24 hours) An employer's workweek need not coincide with the calendar week or payroll period. It may begin on any day of the week and at any hour of the day. Employers may establish a single workweek for the entire firm or different workweeks for various groups of employees. Each workweek stands on its own. So an employee who works 35 hours in week one and 60 hours in week two is paid overtime on the 20 extra hours worked in week two. (Exceptions do apply)

Exceptions to the Workweek
There are many variations of the standard workweek and many different regulations for each variation. For example, fluctuating plans require that the employee's work schedule vary where neither the employer nor the employee can anticipate the schedule from week to week. Salary amounts must be set at a fixed amount and not fall below the current minimum wage.

Certain public service workers may fall into FLSA's exception category, where overtime is calculated based on separate rules, usually by extending the pay period. Such workers may include hospital staff and nursing homes, emergency medical technicians, firefighters, police officers, paramedics, rescue workers and hazardous materials workers.