The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), administered by the United States Department of Labor, sets federal overtime laws. Some states, such as Montana, have their own overtime laws. The Montana Department of Labor and Industry enforces Montana's overtime regulations.
Under the FLSA, non-exempt workers qualify for overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours per week. Under Montana law, most employees qualify for overtime pay for hours exceeding 40 in a seven-day work week. The employee must actually perform work to qualify for overtime. For example, if he works 37 hours and uses eight sick hours, all 45 hours should be paid at his regular rate. Montana law does not require overtime pay for hours worked on holidays unless those hours exceed 40 for the work week. Specifically, the employer doesn’t have to pay overtime for work on holidays unless an established policy or contract requires it.
Montana law requires employers to pay overtime at one and one-half times the employee's normal pay rate. Overtime should be paid with the employee’s regular hours on his next regularly scheduled paycheck. Employees who experience trouble collecting overtime wages from a present or former employer can file a claim with the Montana Labor Board.
An employee is not eligible for overtime pay if he is classified as an exempt worker. Most hourly employees are non-exempt and many salaried employees are exempt. There are exceptions to the general categories. Some salaried employees, such as school teachers and physicians, are eligible for overtime pay. The FLSA narrowly defines exemptions; they generally depend on the employee’s wages and/or job duties. Montana employees must also satisfy the wage and/or job duties test specific to their position to qualify as exempt.
Montana agricultural employees are usually exempt from overtime pay. Additionally, salaried executive, professional and administrative employees, and outside salespersons who meet the exempt wage and/or duties test, are exempt from overtime pay. Employers should scrutinize the conditions carefully before classifying an employee as exempt. The employer can contact the Montana Labor Board if unsure of how to label the employee.