Overtime Rules in Pennsylvania
For informational purposes only
New overtime rules in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act took effect nationwide on Monday, Aug. 23, 2004. Pennsylvania employers will need to follow both the new federal overtime rules and the overtime requirements of Pennsylvania's Minimum Wage Act. Pennsylvania employers should follow the rule that provides the greater benefit to the employee where there are differences between the two laws.
An employee is entitled to at least minimum wage and overtime pay at time and a half for all hours worked over 40 hours per week. However, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Pennsylvania’s Minimum Wage Act do not require overtime pay for “any employee engaged in a bona-fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity” who is paid on a salaried basis instead of an hourly wage. (29 U.S.C. § 213a(1), 43 P.S. § 333.105a(5)).
The United States Department of Labor (USDOL) published its revised final regulations concerning its overtime requirements under the FLSA on April 23, 2004. (29 CFR 541). The new federal regulations take effect on August 23, 2004. The new federal overtime regulations revise the types of workers eligible for overtime and set a higher salary cap for eligible workers (See: www.dol.gov).
Impact on Pennsylvania Employers
Pennsylvania employers must still comply with the overtime requirements of Pennsylvania's Minimum Wage Act (35 P.S. § 333.101 et seq.) and regulations. (34 Pa. Code § 231.1 et seq.). Pennsylvania’s existing state requirements are still in effect. Pennsylvania’s current requirements are substantially similar to the earlier federal standards. Employers must follow Pennsylvania’s regulations even if these rules are more stringent for employers than the revised federal requirement. Federal law (29 USCS § 218) and the new federal rules (29 C.F.R. 541.4) specifically state that federal law does not affect enforcement of state overtime requirements, such as Pennsylvania's requirements.
The USDOL enforces Federal rules contained in the FLSA and related regulations. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) enforces Pennsylvania’s minimum wage requirements contained in the Minimum Wage Act and related regulations.
Differences Between Overtime Requirements
Current Pennsylvania law and regulations requiring overtime payment remain in effect and will be enforced regardless of the changes to the federal rules. For example, Pennsylvania does not allow an employer to restrict overtime if an employee earns a certain salary. The revised federal regulations allow an employer to restrict overtime if an employee is earning over $100,000 annually. However, this federal exclusion does not apply to Pennsylvania employees because of Pennsylvania law.
Pennsylvania employers must be aware that the federal or Pennsylvania overtime provision that provides for the greater benefit to the employee is the standard that will be enforced. An employer must pay overtime if the new Federal rules or Pennsylvania law requires overtime payment.
For example, the Federal rules do not require overtime for computer employees. However, Pennsylvania law currently requires overtime for computer employees. accordingly, overtime must be paid to computer employees if there are no other Pennsylvania laws excluding these employees from overtime.
Also, the Federal rules increase the minimum threshold’s required salary to $455 per week, or $23,660 annually. An executive, administrative, or professional employee must make this amount, at least, or overtime is required. Pennsylvania still maintains its test to determine whether the exemption applies to employees making a weekly salary over $155.00. However, an employer would violate Federal rules if the employer did not pay overtime to an employee making below $455 per week or $23,600 annually.
The USDOL provides information on its overtime requirements. (www.dol.gov). However, L&I will provide additional notification and conduct other outreach efforts to assure that employers are complying with Pennsylvania's overtime requirements. L&I’s Bureau of Labor Law Compliance enforces Pennsylvania’ wage laws, including the Minimum Wage Act. Copies of the Minimum Wage Act and regulations, information on overtime and complaint forms may be obtained from the following:
Bureau of Labor Law Compliance
1301 Labor & Industry Building
651 Boas Street
Harrisburg, PA 17121
Tel. 717-787-4671 or 1-800-932-0665