what is time and a half pay

What Is Time-and-a-Half Pay and How Do You Calculate It?

As an employer, you need to be aware of all the applicable labor regulations so that you can compensate your employees appropriately and provide them with the right work environment.

One of the main areas of contention between employers and their employees is the time-and-a-half pay. So, what is time and a half pay, and how do you calculate it?

What Is Time-and-a-Half Pay?

Time-and-a-Half Pay

Time-and-a-half pay is the overtime pay rate given to employees when they work overtime. When your workers continue to work past their normal working hours, they’re entitled to extra pay, which is commonly referred to as overtime pay.

Since this payment is for the extra hours worked, the pay rate is supposed to be higher than the normal rate. In most instances, this payment is one and a half (1.5) times more than the normal pay rate.

That’s why it’s normally referred to as the time-and-a-half pay. It’s also known as the overtime premium or the overtime rate of pay. In other words, the time-and-a-half pay rate is 50 percent more than the employee’s normal pay rate.

For every extra hour that your employee works beyond their normal working hours, they expect to earn their regular hourly pay plus half of it. So, if you normally pay them $20 an hour, you will pay them $30 ($20 + $10) for every extra hour of their overtime.

However, not every employee qualifies for time-and-a-half pay for their overtime. Therefore, you need to know which of your employees is entitled to this pay rate and why.

Who Qualifies for Time-and-a-Half Pay?


First, please note that the time-and-a-half pay regulation is clearly stipulated in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state-based laws. However, since exemptions are also included in these laws, it becomes difficult for employees in different states to do accurate calculations and determine which employees qualify for this pay rate.

That’s why you must take your time to learn how to calculate the time-and-a-half pay rate for your employees to avoid costly lawsuits and disputes with your staff. FLSA exempts certain categories of employees from the time-and-a-half pay. This exemption is informed by several factors, including wages and duties performed.

Generally, most salaried workers who earn over $684 per week or $35,568 per year are exempt from time-and-a-half pay. Therefore, employees who earn hourly pay, especially those who work standard 40-hour jobs in normal industries like retail, healthcare, and hospitality are entitled to the time-and-a-half pay.

Therefore, if you pay your employees hourly rates, you have to pay them 1.5 times higher than their normal pay rate whenever they work overtime. State and Federal laws also offer certain exemptions based on the location, duties, and industry where the employee works.

As an employer, you’re expected to classify your employees properly to avoid Department of Labor (DOL) penalties and the dissatisfaction of your employees. Unfortunately, many employees don’t know how to differentiate between exempt and non-exempt workers.

For example, some employers assume that all salaried workers are exempted from the time-and-a-half pay and all employees who earn an hourly pay are non-exempt. Unfortunately, this is an oversimplification of the whole concept.

The variation between these two categories of employees is based on their duties and their overall earnings. So, any employee who meets these criteria is exempt from FLSA – which sets the mandatory minimum wage and overtime pay regulations.

An exempt employee is any member of staff who earns a weekly pay rate of $684 or more and handles the key duties of running your organization or a whole department within the company.

Another type of exempt employee is anyone whose primary duties are non-manual work. For instance, those who manage your business operations and customers. However, you are allowed to use your own discretion when classifying this type of exempt employee on “matters of significance.”

If you have employees whose roles require advanced knowledge of sciences and learning, you can classify them as exempt. Also, you can exempt employees in computer-related roles like computer programming and data analysis.

Your field or traveling sales representatives may also be classified as exempt employees, as well as your highly compensated workers who do non-manual work that somehow overlaps with that of the executive, administration, or professional exemptions.

If you misclassify your employees in this regard, even unknowingly, may lead to costly DOL investigations and punishments. Understanding these classifications will help you maintain the right hiring and remuneration practices.

It also gives you the confidence to go through the hiring process because you know that you won’t experience remuneration disputes and other employee reclassification surprises along the way.

How to Calculate Time-And-A-Half Pay


After classifying your employees, the next task is to learn how to calculate their time-and-a-half pay accurately. This will eliminate any chances of erroneous calculations that could lead to conflicts in your business or loss of money.

Remember that you’ll be calculating overtime for both your hourly and salaried employees, which can be quite challenging at first. However, since your hourly workers are likely to take the largest share of non-exempt employees, your main focus should be on them. But don’t forget about your non-exempt salaried workers too.

Calculating Time-And-A-Half Pay for Hourly Employees

This calculation is quite simple because you already know their normal hourly rate. So, you simply give their normal hourly rate plus half of that as indicated above. Here is a more detailed example:

If your employee earns $15 an hour and they’ve worked for 50 hours this week, it means they have worked 10 extra hours, which should be paid as overtime. So, you start by finding the total normal pay for the week ($15 x 40 hours = $600).

Then, you need to calculate the time-and-a-half pay for the week. Here, you multiply the regular hourly pay by 1.5. This is $15 x 1.5 =$22.5. Then, multiply the overtime hourly pay by the number of extra hours worked.

$22.5 x 10 = $225.

Finally, add the total overtime pay to the total normal hourly pay ($225 + $600 = $825). This is the total pay for your employee this week.

Calculating Time-And-A-Half Pay for Salaried Employees

Calculating the time-and-a-half pay for your salaried employees is a bit complex as it involves one extra step. Since you pay them a fixed salary, you have to start by finding their hourly rate. Here’s an example:

Your employee earns a weekly rate of $950 and works 36 hours a week. However, this week she decided to work overtime and recorded 48 hours. How do you calculate her overtime pay?

Start by finding the normal hourly rate by dividing her weekly salary by the weekly working hours. e.g., $950 / 36 = $26.38. Then, calculate her total weekly regular pay.

$26.38 x 40 hours = $1055.2.

Multiply her regular hourly rate by 1.5 to get the correct time-and-a-half pay rate.

$26.38 x 1.5 = $39.57.

Find the total overtime pay by multiplying the total overtime hourly pay by the number of extra hours worked.

$39.57 x 8 hours = $316.56.

Finally, add the overtime wage and regular wage to find the total time-and-a-half pay.

$316.56 + 1055.2 = $1371.76.

That’s how simple it is to calculate your employee’s time-and-a-half pay when they work overtime. These formulas should help you avoid DOL investigations and disagreements in your business.