Kansas Overtime Laws

January 14th 2024

When it comes to employment, understanding the regulations that govern an employee’s rights is essential. In Kansas, employees are protected by Kansas Labor Laws that outline various aspects of employment, including overtime pay. Kansas overtime laws ensure that employees are fairly compensated for their extra hours of work beyond the standard 46-hour workweek.

This article will provide information to successfully navigate Kansas’ overtime regulations, whether you’re an employer aiming for compliance or an employee defending your rights.

This article covers:

Kansas Overtime Rates

In Kansas, overtime rates refer to additional compensation that employees may be entitled to receive when they work beyond their regular working hours. Employees who work over 46 hours per week are entitled to overtime pay at time-and-a-half (1.5) for every additional hour worked. 

Since the regular minimum wage in Kansas is $7.25 per hour, this means Kansas’ overtime minimum rate is $10.88 per hour. 

Overtime Entitlement in Kansas

According to Kansas overtime laws, overtime pay is required for any non-exempt employees. 

Hourly employees in non-exempt industries who make less than $684 per week ($35,568 annually) are entitled to overtime compensation.

However, an employee’s overall eligibility for overtime pay is based on job duties or the type of business they are involved in.

Read more about Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in Kansas.

Compensatory Time in Kansas

Instead of providing overtime pay, employers in Kansas can choose an alternative method of compensation for eligible employees. This alternative involves granting compensatory time off for overtime hours worked. Compensatory time, also known as “comp time”, is provided at a rate of time-and-a-half.

An employer can choose to provide comp time to an employee only if an agreement or mutual understanding has been reached before performing work. 

Any eligible employee shall not accumulate more than 240 hours of comp time. Any overtime worked more than that shall be compensated with overtime pay instead.

Overtime for Tipped Employees in Kansas

The overtime rate for tipped employees is 1.5 times their regular wage for every overtime hour worked. It is important to note that tipped employees in Kansas are subject to a lower minimum wage of $2.13 per hour instead of the regular state minimum wage. 

The use of a “tip credit” system, which allows employers to pay tipped employees a reduced minimum wage, is permitted by both state and federal legislation. However, a tipped worker must accumulate enough tips to total up to the regular minimum wage of $7.25. If their wage, including tips earned, falls below the regular minimum wage, their employer must make up the difference.

That being said, an employer cannot include that tip credit in the calculation of overtime pay. This means that the entire minimum wage (following the Kansas minimum wage which is $7.25) must be taken into account when calculating overtime pay.

Overtime for Salaried Employees in Kansas

In Kansas, only certain salaried employees have the right to receive overtime pay. A salaried employee is an individual who receives a predetermined salary, regardless of the actual hours worked. This means that even if they work more than the hours their salary compensates for, they are still entitled to additional compensation for their extra hours.

To determine a salaried employee’s overtime rate, an employer must first determine their employee’s hourly rate by dividing the salary by the number of hours that salary compensates for.

Then, take the hourly pay rate to calculate the overtime rate for salaried employees using the following formula:

Hourly pay rate x Overtime Hours x Overtime Rate (1.5)

It is important to note that if an employee’s salary covers less than 46 (hours) in a workweek, their regular rate will be added for every subsequent hour working up to 46. Only after 46 hours will time-and-a-half be counted.

If an employee’s salary covers 46 (hours) in a workweek, then time-and-a-half will be paid for any hours over 46.

Calculating Overtime with Commission in Kansas

In Kansas, employees who may receive commissions are still entitled to overtime pay although the rate may differ.

If an employee receives weekly commissions, the commission will be combined with the employee’s weekly wage to get the total earnings for the week. The amount is then divided by the total number of hours worked in the week to determine the regular hourly rate for that week. For any hours worked beyond 46 per week, the employee must be paid additional compensation at a rate of half of the regular hourly rate.

For example, let’s say an employee works 50 hours a week at a rate of $7.25/hour (Kansas minimum wage) and receives $50 in commissions for that week. 

(Total hours x Hourly Rate) + Commission

= (50 x 7.25) + 50

= $412.5 (total earnings for the week)

Then, divide that by the total hours worked in the week.

= 412.5 / 50

=$8.25 (new regular hourly rate)

To determine the overtime rate for the commissioned employees, we need to take that new regular hourly rate and halve it.

$8.25 / 2

= $4.13

Since the employee worked an extra 4 hours in the week, that makes his overtime compensation $16.5 ($4.13 x 4 hours).

The amount will vary according to the hours worked, hourly rate, and commission earned.

Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in Kansas

According to federal law, non-exempt employees must be paid overtime for hours worked more than 40 per week. However, Kansas law differs from federal law – employees in Kansas have to work over 46 hours a week to qualify for overtime pay.

Here are some categories of exempt employees:

  • Any employee who is engaged in selling motor vehicles for a non-manufacturing employer
  • Any person sentenced to the custody of the secretary of corrections
  • Any person serving a sentence in a county jail
  • Executive, administrative, highly compensated employees who make more than $107,432 a year, and creative professionals who receive a salary and earn not less than $684 per week.
  • Computer employees who work on a salary basis and earn more than $684 weekly.
  • Outside sales employees

Statute of Limitations For Unpaid Overtime Claims in Kansas

In Kansas, the statute of limitations for an employee to recover unpaid overtime wages is two years from the date of the violation. For example, an employee who files a lawsuit today can seek the recovery of overtime back wages for only the previous two years. This statute of limitations can be extended to three years if an employer has wilfully or knowingly violated overtime regulations. 

Legal Cases Relating to Overtime Compensation in Kansas

Below, we present law cases relating to fair overtime compensation for employees in Kansas: 

1. Healthcare Company Agree to Settlement for Overtime Back Wages

In the case of Mpia v. Healthmate International, LLC., Josue Mpia filed a lawsuit against Healthmate International (wholesale healthcare and medical supply company), Xiang Chen, and Qianhui Gai for failure to provide overtime compensation. Mpia claimed that he was hired by Chen as a videographer for Healthcare International but was also required to perform work for Chen’s other companies. 

This lawsuit was scheduled for a trial multiple times but it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eventually, they participated in a settlement conference and reached an agreement to settle the case. Both parties presented the court with a Release and Settlement Agreement and requested approval of the settlement.

To approve the settlement, the court had to determine if the proposed settlement was fair and equitable and if it included reasonable attorney fees. In this case, there were disputes regarding the number of hours Mpia worked, whether some hours were for another employer, the existence of an overtime policy, a notice of failure to pay overtime, individual liability of Chen and Gao, and the computation of wages owed. The court found that these factors constituted a bona fide dispute.

The settlement agreement included a reasonable attorney’s fee of $14,698, which was found to be reasonable based on the factors and billing records that were presented.

Ultimately, the court granted the parties Joint Motion for Approval of the Fair Labor Standards Act Settlement, and the parties were instructed to submit a joint stipulation of dismissal for the case.

Key lessons from this case:

  • Proving the existence of a bona fide dispute involves providing information about the nature of the dispute, the employer’s business, the type of work performed, and the reasons for disputing the plaintiff’s right to overtime pay.
  • Parties involved in an FLSA case may engage in mediation or settlement conferences to resolve the dispute before proceeding to trial.
  • Employers should have clear policies in place regarding overtime work and obtain written supervisor approval if overtime is required.
2. Apartment Complex Employees Accuse Employer of Wrongly Calculating Overtime Rate

In the case of Wisneski v. Belmont Management Company, Teresa Wisneski and Mildred Jones filed a lawsuit against their employer, Belmont Management Company (Belmont) for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Wisneski and Jones worked as hourly employees for Belmont for one of their apartment complexes. They also resided on the premises of one of Belmont’s apartment complexes and received credit toward their rent as part of their compensation package. 

Wisneski and Jones claimed that Belmont did not include the value of a rent credit in the calculation of overtime pay, which meant that they were being underpaid. 

Both parties submitted a joint motion for a settlement agreement and sought the dismissal of this lawsuit. The proposed settlement agreement covered not only Wineski and Jones’ names but also similarly situated individuals. However, the court denied the joint motion. 

The court explained that an FLSA lawsuit only becomes a collective action when other employees opt into the class by giving written consent. The court also raised concerns about the fairness of certain provisions in the proposed settlement. The broad release included in the agreement which encompassed Belmont was considered too broad and unfair.

The court also needed more information regarding the basis for the employees’ services. There was also a lack of sufficient information to determine whether the requested fees in the settlement agreement were reasonable. The motion for settlement was denied.

Key lessons from this case:

  • The court can only approve an FLSA settlement if it is fair and equitable to all parties concerned, ensuring that the settlement resolves a bona fide dispute.
  • The reasonableness of requested incentive awards for named plaintiffs should be based on the time and effort they devoted to the lawsuit, clearly documenting their contributions in the motion for settlement approval.
  • Employees who seek settlement approval for overtime cases should provide comprehensive information such as an appropriate breakdown of the settlement amount.
3. Call-Center Employee Seeks Overtime Pay for Off-The-Clock Hours Worked

In the case of Drowatzky v. ADT LLC., Nicholas Drowatzky filed a collective action lawsuit against ADT for violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Drowatzky worked as a call-center employee for ADT. He claimed that he and other employees worked unpaid “off-the-clock” hours in addition to their regular scheduled shifts. Drowatzky filed one claim under the FLSA for unpaid overtime wages and a class-action claim under the Kansas Wage Payment Act (KWPA) for unpaid wages. 

ADT sought to dismiss Drowatzky’s KWPA claims arguing that the FLSA preempted the KWPA claim. The court explained that the FLSA preempts any claim for minimum or overtime wages under the KWPA. Drowatzky agreed but argued that a KWPA claim for unpaid straight time should not be preempted by the FLSA. The court disagreed and concluded that Drowatzky failed to state a plausible claim under the KWPA for “straight-time” because the KWPA does not provide substantive rights but only a mechanism to recover wages.

Ultimately, the court dismissed Drowatzky’s claims without prejudice. 

Key lessons from this case:

  • If a claim for overtime wages falls under the scope of the FLSA, it cannot be pursued solely under the KWPA.
  • Dismissal without prejudice allows an employee the opportunity to amend the complaint or provide an additional basis for unpaid overtime pay claims.
  • An employee must provide a substantive basis for the claim. This can include a contractual agreement or other legal basis for the wages being due.

Learn more about Kansas Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

Important Cautionary Note

When making this article we have tried to make it accurate but we do not give any guarantee that the information provided is correct or up-to-date. We therefore strongly advise you seek advice from qualified professionals before acting on any information provided in this article. We do not accept any liability for any damages or risks incurred for use of this article.