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Are you entitled to overtime pay?

The next time you see a Ford driving down the streets of Fort Lauderdale, you can thank its founder for your current work schedule. Prior to the federal government routinely tracking labor conditions in the U.S., stories (albeit unverifiable) had factory workers in the U.S. working seven days a week for up to 100 hours per week. Henry Ford has the first major name in business to push for the standard 40-hour work week. The Fair Labor Standards Act made that the officially recognized work week schedule in 1940.

Yet that is not to say that today, employers are still no pushing their workforces to go labor beyond 40 hours. Your boss may expect that even when you leave the office, you remain available to answer calls or emails or perform work-related tasks at home. The question becomes how should you be compensated if your work week exceeds 40 hours. 

Florida state law defers to the FSLA when determining overtime pay. Per the FSLA, if you do work beyond 40 hours in a work week, you are entitled to overtime pay. The standard rate of pay for overtime compensation set by the Act is time and one-half your regular hourly salary. 

The debate over overtime pay often does not revolve around its basic requirement, but rather the definition of a "work week." Most refer to the business week as Monday through Friday, but the FSLA simply defines it as 40 hours. That can be set over whatever period an employer defines, provided averaged over two or more weeks. Thus, your employer may set a schedule of five eight-hour shifts over five days, or four 10-hour shifts over the same time period. Whatever the timeframe, overtime begins accruing the moment you work past 40 hours. 

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