For anyone with a job, the weekend is often an oasis amid a sea of labors, a respite to relax and enjoy one’s own time. Because of this, many employees bristle at the idea of working weekends, even if their regular shifts fall during weekend hours. While managing the morale of employees who work Saturdays can be difficult for any small business owner, there’s a silver lining: Federal and most state labor laws don’t require you to treat workers who work Saturdays any differently than those who work during the traditional workweek.
The Fair Labor Standards Act and Weekends
The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act is the primary piece of legislation that provides workers with workplace rights and protections, although it provides employers with a wide amount of leeway to manage their employees as their business allows. The FLSA requires employers to pay a minimum wage to all hourly workers, and mandates employers pay overtime wages of 150 percent a worker’s normal wage when he works more than 40 hours in a work week. It doesn’t mandate premium pay for workers who work weekends, nor does it limit the number of hours a worker may work in a week or a single Saturday shift.
The FLSA requires that employers maintain a consistent workweek and provide overtime to workers who clock more than 40 hours each payment cycle. If an hourly worker already logged 40 hours during the normal workweek works a shift on Saturday, he has the right to receive overtime pay for the shift. If schedules were adjusted, so that he gave up a midweek shift to compensate for the Saturday shift, and only works a total of 40 hours, he isn’t entitled to overtime pay for the weekend shift.
FLSA Exempt Employees
Employees who qualify as administrative or professional workers and receive a salary may be classified as FLSA exempt employees if they meet the law’s provisions. These exempt, salaried positions may be required to work Saturdays with no additional compensation for their time.
Read More: The Labor Laws on Exempt Employees Who are Required to Work Over 40 Hours a Week
Civil Rights Protections
As with any other workplace decision, employers must take care not to assign Saturday shifts in ways that are discriminatory toward protected classes. A variety of civil rights acts prohibits employers from making workplace decisions based on race, color, sex, national origin, disability or age, if the worker is more than 40 years old.
While federal and state labor laws provide minimal protections for workers required to work Saturdays, employment contracts may grant workers additional rights if they are required to work Saturdays. Depending upon the contract, Saturday shifts may earn a pay differential or be banned altogether. Consult your contract with employees to determine if it provides additional restrictions on your ability to manage them on Saturdays.
Wilhelm Schnotz has worked as a freelance writer since 1998, covering arts and entertainment, culture and financial stories for a variety of consumer publications. His work has appeared in dozens of print titles, including "TV Guide" and "The Dallas Observer." Schnotz holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Colorado State University.