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Job Opportunities Unpaid Overtime Wage Claims Overtime Pay

Both Federal and Wisconsin law requires employers to pay 1.5 times your regular rate per hour for all hours worked in a workweek in excess of 40 unless you legally fall within an exemption from the overtime law. This is overtime pay. For example, if you work for $8.00 per hour and work 50 hours in a week, you have earned $320.00 in straight time, and an additional $120.00 in overtime pay. In mathematical terms, the calculation is: ($8 x 40 hours) + (($8 x 1.5) x 10 hours) = $440.00 gross pay. If an employer fails to pay for the overtime hours, either at the proper rate or just does not pay any overtime, then an employee may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor, the Wisconsin Labor Standards Bureau or may pursue a lawsuit to recover the unpaid wages. A lawsuit may entitle the employee to recover twice the amount of unpaid overtime wages.

An employer's obligation to pay employees overtime pay depends on whether the employer and employee are covered by either the state or federal law on wages. Also, certain employees are not covered by the overtime wage law and are considered exempt by virtue of their duties or the type of employment. Employers, however, may mis-classify employees as exempt from the law when in fact they are covered. Failing to pay employees the appropriate wage because the employer mis-classifies the employee as exempt will likely result in a violation of the employees rights under these wage laws.

Compensatory Time

Some employers attempt to avoid paying an employee the proper overtime wage by using a policy of compensatory time, that is time off from work in a subsequent workweek instead of time and one-half pay for each hour worked over 40 in a workweek, paid along with the regular hours worked. Except for certain public employers, compensatory time off instead of overtime pay is not legal. This is a particularly harmful practice when the employer only provides straight compensatory time off, meaning one hour off for each hour of overtime. Remember, overtime pay is one and one-half times your regular rate of pay, so straight compensatory time is robbing an employee of that extra half-time pay the the employee earned. Violations of the prohibition on compensatory time are enforced just like any other wage claim for unpaid overtime.

Records & Timekeeping

Having your own record of the hours you worked is very helpful in unpaid overtime pay claims litigation, but it is not essential. The employer actually has a legal obligation to make and maintain these records. Oftentimes, where an employer is not paying proper overtime pay, the employer is also not making or maintaining the proper records. This practice is particularly prevalent where the employer mis-classifies an employee as exempt or pays an employee under-the-table, that is without taking any tax withholdings or paying the proper taxes on your wages to the Federal, state and local government.

The U.S. Department of Labor has an application for the IPhone that lets you record hour hours each day and even calculates overtime pay due to you. You can find and download this application at

We represent people, employees in unpaid wage and overtime pay claims, typically on a contingency fee basis where our fees are paid only upon a recovery on your behalf. We represent employees throughout the entire process of a claim.

You can also contact Wisconsin’s Labor Standards Bureau to file a wage complaint  without an attorney. To start the process, contact the Wage and Hour Bureau as follows:


PO BOX 8928

Telephone Number: (608) 266-6860
TTY Number: (608) 264-8752


819 N 6th ST
ROOM 723

Telephone Number: (414) 227-4384
TTY Number: (414) 227-4081

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