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Chinese Overtime

Chinese Overtime

"Chinese overtime," also known as the fluctuating work week, day rate, piece rate pay formula, is an informal term which refers to a situation where an employee receives half of their regular wage, instead of time-and-a-half, for hours worked over 40 in a single workweek. Although this method of payment is legal for employees who earn a fixed salary for fluctuating workweeks, there are a number of ways in which employers can take advantage of this payment method and illegally deny their employees time-and-a-half overtime wages.

Have you received half-time for your overtime pay? If so, it is possible that your employer violated federal law in doing so. Find out if you can recover money for your unpaid overtime wages by completing our free, no obligation case review form on the right.

How Violations May Be Occurring

Employers are only permitted to pay "Chinese overtime" to employees who are paid using the fluctuating workweek method. These employees are those who earn a fixed salary each workweek for hours that vary from week to week. When an employer makes mistakes using the fluctuating workweek pay method, they can run into trouble with federal overtime law.

Common mistakes include the following:

  • The employee worked less than 40 hours a week and received less than their fixed salary
  • The employee received bonuses, holiday pay, commission, shift pay or an additional form of compensation and therefore, is not earning a "fixed salary"
  • The employee is unaware about the company's use of the fluctuating workweek
  • The employee worked so much in a single week that their regular rate of pay (fixed salary divided by number of hours worked) falls beneath the federal minimum wage
  • The employee's work schedule does not fluctuate significantly between weeks

Requirements for "Chinese Overtime"

To legally pay "Chinese overtime" to an employee, the following requirements must be met:

  • The employer and employee must clearly understand that the fixed salary will cover all hours worked in a workweek, even if only a small amount of time is worked
  • The employee's hours must change week to week
  • The employee's regular rate of pay used to calculate their half-overtime rate must not fall below federal minimum wage requirements

Wage and Hour Attorneys

If you suspect you are not being properly compensated for your overtime hours, you may be able to file a claim against your employer to recover your unpaid overtime wages. There is a time limit for filing overtime claims, and employers are prohibited by federal law from retaliating against those who take legal action. Do not hesitate to contact us today by completing our free case review form on the right.

Overtime Employer Violations
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