Common Questions Regarding Oilfield Overtime Pay

What is considered OT?

Overtime is generally one-and-a-half times a worker’s regular rate of pay for each hour worked above forty in a week. The Federal law that governs overtime pay is called the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA. The FLSA was enacted in 1938 in an effort protect workers from working excessive hours with low pay by employers. It sets out the minimum wage, overtime pay, and record-keeping rules affecting employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments. Under the FLSA, employers are not prohibited from requiring their workers to work overtime, but they must pay them in accordance with the statute. While some states have their own, more stringent overtime laws, Texas does not. So in Texas, the FLSA covers overtime pay.

Do oil rig workers get overtime?

The answer is that it depends. Under the FLSA, most workers who perform manual labor (which would include many oilfield workers) are entitled to overtime pay. Certain workers who are considered administrative, management or professional staff, or who exclusively drive eighteen wheelers or other large commercial vehicles may be exempt from overtime pay. But oilfield workers should never assume that they can be denied overtime pay – if you work in the oilfields and have been denied overtime pay within the past three years, whether through day rates, straight time, piece rates, or a salary, you should speak with an experienced overtime attorney to learn of your legal rights regarding overtime pay. 

What is OT overtime? How do I calculate overtime?

Overtime pay is typically calculated at time-and-a-half. In the easiest example, a worker who is paid an hourly rate would receive 1.5 times his hourly rate for each hour worked above forty in a week. So a worker would be paid $10/hour for the first forty hours, then $15/hour for every hour after that in a week. 

Under certain circumstances, an employer may be able to pay half-time. For example, those paid a salary may fall under what is called the Fluctuating Workweek (“FWW”) method for calculating overtime. However, some states, such as New Mexico, have outlawed the FWW method for paying overtime. For other circumstances, such as workers paid on a day rate, piece-rate basis or some other less-common payment basis, the method used to calculate overtime can be complicated. Employers sometimes neglect to include bonuses when calculating overtime pay. This can lead to violations of the federal and state overtime laws. An overtime attorney can advise you as to your legal rights if you have been denied overtime or shorted on overtime pay. 

What is overtime straight time?

Straight time occurs when a worker is paid the same hourly rate for every hour worked. This often occurs when a worker is classified as an independent contractor. Companies do this to avoid paying taxes and overtime. But just because a worker is called an independent contractor does not mean he or she is one. Courts use several factors to determine whether a worker is truly an independent contractor or is really an employee. If the worker is an employee, the FLSA applies and the worker would typically be owed overtime pay. 

If you have any of these questions, you should consult with an experienced overtime attorney as soon as possible.  Josh Borsellino represents workers on overtime pay.  Call Josh at 817.908.9861 or email him here for a free evaluation of your overtime pay questions.

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