Can an Employee Waive Overtime Pay?
Question: We have employees that want to volunteer to work extra time in the evenings or weekends — for straight time – to help with the work load and to make some extra income. We do not require this, but would like to do this if we can legally do so without paying overtime rates. Do the employer and employee have the freedom to enter into such an arrangement?
First of all, let’s figure out a way to clone your employees because you certainly have an unusually dedicated group at your company!
But to get to the legal nuts and bolts of your question, I’m afraid you cannot enter into such an arrangement with your employees. The Fair Labor Standards Act simply does not allow employees to waive their rights to overtime (or minimum wage). As you might imagine, the concern is that some employers (not ACCA members of course!) might pressure employees into “volunteering” to work extra hours at straight time just to avoid the premium overtime rate.
This response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion, nor is this column a substitute for formal legal assistance. For help with particular legal needs, members are invited to consult with ACCA’s LegalTools Counsel, Brooke Duncan III of Adams and Reese LLP. Mr. Duncan can be reached at 504-585-0220 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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