Fighting For
Employee And Union Rights
Fighting For
Employee And Union Rights

Understanding Michigan laws concerning overtime pay 

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2024 | Employment Law

When it comes to employment law, knowledge is power.  Many employers prey upon employees who lack a legal background hoping that they will not know what rights they have.   Yet, laws are often written in an overly complex manner that is not easily digested without a law degree.

Take for instance the nine pages of overtime pay regulations for State of Michigan employees. Those regulations use complicated technical language and vague terms left undefined.  Michigan’s overtime provisions are designed to ensure that State of Michigan employees are fairly compensated for hours worked beyond the standard 40-hour workweek. While that principle seems simple enough on its face, these laws are influenced by both the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA),  federal regulations, and state statutes and regulations.  All of these laws and regulations are interpreted by government agencies and courts.  The result?  A comprehensive mess incomprehensible to most.

Overtime pay rates and eligibility

Under Michigan law, similar to the FLSA, the standard overtime pay rate is one and a half times the regular rate of pay. This means that for each hour worked over 40 hours in a workweek, an employee is entitled to receive 1.5 times their regular hourly wage.

This rule is applicable to most employees; however, there are exemptions for certain types of workers and industries, which may include managerial positions, professionals and some types of sales employees. Generally, hourly employees are entitled to overtime pay, but salaried employees may also qualify depending on their job duties, salary level and how their pay is structured. Per Michigan law, State of Michigan “Employees in classifications with an eligibility code of N” are eligible for overtime. What that means turns on yet other regulations that are difficult to find if you don’t know what you are looking for.

Enforcement claims

Similarly complex is what an employee can do to protect their rights. Between federal and state government agencies and federal and state courts, enforcement of overtime regulations can be difficult without legal assistance as well. The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) is responsible for enforcing the state’s overtime laws. Employees who believe their employer has violated Michigan’s overtime provisions have the right to file a complaint with the LEO. Furthermore, they may also pursue private legal action to recover unpaid overtime, including attorney’s fees and potentially additional damages as allowed under state law.

Even worse, some laws only allow claims to be filed within a certain amount of time.  Other laws reference similar limits found in other statutes. Yet others are limited by prior court decisions strictly requiring employees to meet deadlines not even mentioned in the statute itself.

Management likely has attorneys to help them figure out what all of this means.  You should too! If you are concerned about what rights you have as an employee, don’t wait! Contact a labor and employment attorney today. The labor and employment attorneys at Miller Cohen PLC provide workers with a free consultation. Contact us at (313) 964-4454.