Overtime is the new normal for American workers. According to a new poll by Gallup, Americans are now working an “average” of 47 hours, with a growing number of American employees working 60 hours or more – more than twenty hours of overtime every week. The poll did not ask the workers whether they received overtime pay, though that would certainly be an interesting follow-up question. According to the survey, half of all full-time workers indicate they typically work more overtime (i.e. more than 40 hours), and nearly four in 10 say they work at least 10 hours of overtime per week, according to Gallup’s 2014 Work and Education survey. Eighteen percent of American workers report working more than 20 hours of overtime per week.
Salaried workers are putting in more overtime, on average five hours more per week, 49 vs. 44 for hourly workers. This is consistent with the observations of many overtime attorneys, including this author, who believe that many employers are taking advantage of their salaried employees by demanding more overtime, with the mistaken belief that all salaried employees are exempt from overtime pay. In fact, this is a myth, as many salaries employees are entitled to overtime pay, as explained in this article.
Given Gallup’s overtime hours findings, perhaps it is no surprise that lawsuits under the Fair Labor Standards Act (or FLSA), which governs overtime pay in Texas and across the nation, have increased significantly in recent years. In fact, 7,764 FLSA cases were filed in 2013, up 10 percent from 2012 which saw 7,064 cases filed. While the business community continues to claim that the FLSA (a law that was enacted during the Great Depression and remains largely unchanged since its passage) needs to be reformed because it is increasingly being exploited by plaintiff’s attorneys and their clients to systematically target employers of all sizes, the Gallup poll actually suggests the opposite – more FLSA cases are being filed because American workers are working more overtime.
About the Author: I represent workers in claims for unpaid overtime. If you have questions as to your rights to overtime pay, call me at 817.908.9861 or 432.242.7118, or fill out this contact form for a free evaluation of your situation.