Are You Confused With Overtime Pay Qualification?

by Arcelita Imasa

We have been very busy at work the past few months. I am regularly working six days a week and putting in 45-48 hours each week. I am paid by the hour. But my hourly pay has not gone up. A friend told me the reason that I am not getting overtime is because I am not working more than 8 hours a day. I am averaging six to seven hours each day. They told me that if I were working more than eight hours in a day, then I would qualify to get overtime. Is this correct?  I am confused.
– From Reader

Dear Reader,

We are so glad you contacted us. Your friend may mean well but the information they gave you is wrong! Very wrong.

Overtime is paid when an employee works more than 40 hours in a workweek. Hours worked in excess of eight hours in a day are not considered overtime, except when work is performed on a State or county public works construction project.

Your employer should be paying you at the rate of time and one-half for all hours worked over 40 hours in your workweek. It sounds as though they owe you back wages for overtime.

I hope you have documented your hours. While your employer should be accurately documenting hours also. It is important that you do that. Even simple handwritten notes with dates and your start time, end time, and lunch period.

Do keep your own records. It is likely that your co-workers may also be due overtime. Talk to them.

We suggest you approach your employer about this. If they do not pay you properly, we can help you file a claim with the Hawai’i Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division.

Call us at 503-967-5377 (503-WORKERS). We can help you. We have helped many workers get wages of thousands of dollars of wages they are entitled to.

Send us your employment-related questions to We will be happy to address them in a future column.

Hawaii Workers Center

ARCELITA IMASA is a practicing family physician and the secretary of the Hawaii Workers Center’s Executive Committee of the Board. She grew up in the Philippines before migrating to Hawaii with her family more than a decade ago.

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