Your boss asked you to work more than 40 hours in a week, but when you got your paycheck the amount you were paid did not include payment for those hours, or worse, failed to include payment at a rate of one and one-half times your normal rate of pay. You are saying to yourself, “I’m not being paid properly for working overtime, so what should I do?”

If this has happened to you, you’re not alone.

Whether by accident or design, many employers don’t pay workers overtime because it saves money. However, federal labor laws require employers to pay their “nonexempt” employees overtime wages for any hours in excess of 40 hours per week.

It’s sometimes easy for both employers and employees to get confused about overtime laws and overtime pay. Federal and state labor laws define overtime as any amount of time that a nonexempt employee works over 40 hours within a given workweek. When an employee does so, their employer is required to pay that worker time-and-a-half for the additional time.

The same overtime and wage laws also define a workweek as a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 consecutive hours. Workplace disputes oftentimes arise when employers set their own overtime policies that differ from those found within the employment laws.

If you’re currently employed in California or Massachusetts, are you wondering why you’re not receiving overtime pay like some of your coworkers? Workers are protected by federal and state employment laws that dictate who is, or is not, eligible for overtime pay when working more than 40 hours in a work week, or over 8 hours in a workday. Under federal law, one of the main determining factors for overtime pay is a worker’s job exemption status under the Fair Labor Standards Act.