Is it illegal for an employer to not pay overtime wages?

I’m a minor and have worked over the limit of 44 hours in my state. I like the extra hours and don’t want to cause trouble. Should I say anything?

Asked on October 15, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Two different issues:

1) Can an employer not pay overtime? Only if the employee is exempt from overtime. There are certain categories of employees--mostly professionals (e.g. lawyers, doctors, engineers, some high-level computer people), managers/executives, high-level administrative staff with alot of discretion or authority, outside sales people--who do not get overtime, but the vast majority of other staff should be paid overtime for all hours worked past 40 in a week.

2) Should you say anything? You cannot legally be retaliated against for raising an overtime issue or claim, but cetainly the company still could do things such as adjust schedules so you don't get extra hours (when and who to schedule extra hours/overtime for is discretionary). So assume that raising the claim will impact on your relationship with your employer in some way, even though it's not suppossed to, and decide if it's worth it for the extra pay.

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