Compliance Watch:
What are my overtime rights in Michigan?

May 13th 2024

Overtime laws in Michigan are in place to protect employees from exploitation and promote equitable working conditions. Understanding how overtime works in Michigan is essential to receive fair compensation for work performed outside regular hours. This article covers the details of overtime rights, offering advice specific to Michigan’s distinct laws and practices. It aims to address commonly asked questions, equipping readers with key employment information.

This Article Covers

Understanding Overtime in Michigan
Common Questions About Overtime in Michigan 
Legal Working Hours in Michigan
Overtime Eligibility in Michigan
    Overtime Payment Calculations in Michigan
      Receiving Overtime Payment in Michigan
      Violations of Overtime Law in Michigan

      Understanding Overtime in Michigan

      Is overtime pay mandatory in Michigan?

      Yes, overtime pay is mandatory for most employers in Michigan. According to Michigan’s overtime law, non-exempt employees must receive 1.5 times their regular pay for any hours worked beyond 40 in a week. This law largely aligns with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), with some key differences. Under Michigan law, employers must have at least two employees for overtime regulations to apply, whereas the FLSA requires employers to have a gross income of $500,000, regardless of the number of employees. Michigan’s minimum wage is $10.33 per hour, resulting in an overtime rate of $15.495 per hour for minimum-wage earners.

      More information on exemptions and exceptions from overtime can be found in this Michigan Overtime Laws article.

      When do I qualify for overtime pay in Michigan?

      In Michigan, a full-time workweek is classed as 40 hours; anything over this amount counts as overtime. Unlike some states with daily overtime limits for hours over 8 in a day, Michigan focuses on a weekly threshold for overtime eligibility and pay. Nor are there special rules applicable to weekend, night or holiday work. However, employers have the flexibility to establish alternative overtime policies if they choose.

      How much is overtime pay in Michigan?

      Overtime pay in Michigan is paid at a “time-and-a-half”. This means that employees exceeding the weekly 40-hour work limit have a right to compensation at 1.5 times their regular rate of pay. For instance, an employee earning $10 per hour would receive $15 per hour for overtime. Minimum-wage workers, earning $10.33 per hour, receive an overtime rate of $15.495 per hour. 

      While the FLSA does not mandate double-time pay, employers have the option to establish additional agreements for overtime or double-time compensation with their employees or union representatives if they so choose.

      Which laws govern overtime in Michigan?

      Both federal and state laws cover overtime in Michigan. When the two are in conflict, the law which is more favorable to the employee will be applicable. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes the national standard for overtime pay. Under this act, the following rules apply:

      • All non-exempt employees must receive overtime pay for each hour over 40 worked in a single workweek. 
      • The overtime rate is one and one-half an employee’s regular pay rate. 
      • Overtime pay is not mandatory for work performed on weekends, nights or holidays, unless overtime hours are worked during this time. 
      • There is no limit to the maximum number of hours an employee can be required to work.
      • The FLSA operates on a workweek basis, consisting of a period of 168 hours, or seven consecutive 24-hour periods. This workweek does not need to coincide with the traditional calendar week and can begin on any chosen day. Employers have the flexibility to set varying work weeks for their employees.

      Furthermore, the Michigan Workforce Opportunity Wage Act specifies that only businesses with at least two employees must follow these rules. Together, these laws ensure fair compensation for overtime work in Michigan.

      Common Questions About Overtime in Michigan

      Do employers have to pay overtime in Michigan?

      Yes, Michigan’s overtime law requires non-exempt employees to receive 1.5 times their regular pay for all hours worked beyond 40 in a week. Employers risk facing legal penalties for not paying overtime in the state. The overtime law applies to employers with at least two employees – a slight difference compared to the federal law, which only covers employers with a gross income of $500,000 or more.

      Can an employee refuse to work overtime in Michigan?

      Mandatory overtime, also known as “forced overtime,” is when an employer requires employees to work beyond the standard 40-hour workweek. This is legal, as long as employers abide by Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) guidelines, including paying time-and-a-half for overtime, not endangering workers, and not violating contracts. Employers can require employees to work an unlimited number of hours weekly as long as they pay the appropriate premium rate. Although legally permissible, mandatory overtime is often discouraged because it can negatively impact employee morale, retention, and increase the risk of injury. While employers can’t directly force employees to work overtime, at-will employees can legally be fired for refusing. 

      Can I take comp time instead of overtime pay in Michigan?

      Compensatory time, or “comp time” refers to time off work in lieu of receiving overtime pay. This practice is allowed in Michigan, as long as employers comply with regulations outlined by the Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act. The rules for “comp time” in Michigan are as follows: 

      • Employers must offer at least 10 paid days off per year in addition to comp time.
      • Employees must voluntarily agree in writing to receive comp time instead of overtime pay. They cannot be coerced or required to accept comp time.
      • Comp time is credited at 1.5 hours per overtime hour worked.
      • Comp time cannot exceed 240 hours. Any overtime worked beyond this limit must be paid in cash.

      Can I get overtime pay in Michigan without employer approval?

      Yes, non-exempt employees in Michigan must be compensated for any work they perform. This includes overtime, even if it hasn’t been approved by their employer. However, employers have the authority to set up overtime approval processes and can discipline workers for unauthorized overtime. Employees may even be lawfully terminated for working overtime without prior approval.

      Does Michigan have double-time pay?

      Michigan law does not require double-time pay specifically. Instead, Michigan follows the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which mandates the “time-and-a-half” rule for overtime. This means that non-exempt employees must receive overtime pay at 1.5 times their regular hourly wage for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. 

      Some employers may choose to offer double-time pay for specific situations, such as working on holidays or consecutive shifts, as part of their company policies or union agreements. These arrangements are not legally required but depend on individual employer practices.

      What is working ‘off-the-clock’ in Michigan?

      Working off-the-clock is when an employee performs job duties for an employer without being compensated. This practice is illegal, as employers are required to pay employees for any work performed, even if it was not explicitly approved. ‘Off-the-clock’ work is a serious offence and may result in legal action. If employees file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), they may recover up to three years of unpaid wages or overtime for off-the-clock work.

      Employees often work off the clock due to pressure from management, a desire to catch up on work, or to prepare for tasks. Common examples include pre- or post-shift work or working through lunch breaks. Tasks like reading emails and cleaning workspaces are sometimes overlooked by employers but count as work time. Although these tasks may only take a few minutes daily, they can lead to significant unpaid labor over time, especially in large companies.

      What are common ways employers avoid paying overtime in Michigan?

      To protect themselves from exploitation, Michigan employees need to recognize the tactics employers use to avoid fairly compensating workers for overtime. Some common strategies include:

       

      • Off-the-Clock Work: Employers may assign tasks like preparation, responding to calls, or post-shift duties outside of regular work hours without compensation, which violates labor laws. Employers must track all tasks and pay employees accordingly.
      • Averaging Hours Worked: For bi-weekly or bi-monthly schedules, an employer might offset overtime by reducing hours in subsequent weeks. For instance, an employee working 52 hours one week may be scheduled only 25 hours the next, making it appear as two 40-hour weeks and thus avoiding overtime pay.
      • Comp Time: Some employers offer time off to employees to prevent working overtime hours. For example, giving Friday off after a double shift on Wednesday keeps total hours within the 40-hour threshold.
      • Misclassifying Employees: Some employers misclassify workers as being exempt from overtime. This practice is particularly problematic when positions like executives, managers, and outside sales are inaccurately labeled to avoid paying overtime.

      Can you work seven days in a row in Michigan?

      Yes, you can legally work seven days in a row in Michigan. Federal laws only require compensation for additional hours worked. There is no state or federal limit on the number of consecutive workdays, aside from a few exceptions: 

      • Adults can legally work for over seven days in a row unless a collective bargaining agreement or employment contract states otherwise. 
      • Under 16s can only work from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m, for up to 10 hours a day and 6 days a week. During the school term, they can work up to 8 hours a day and 48 hours a week, as long as the combined school and work hours do not exceed 48 hours.
      • Minors aged 16-17 can work from 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on school days and until 11:30 p.m. on non-school days. 

      To learn more about child labor laws in Michigan, read our detailed guide.

      How many ten-hour days can you work in a row in Michigan?

      In Michigan, the only regulation for 10-hour workdays applies to minors under 16, who are limited to working no more than 10 hours a day. For adults, Michigan does not have specific laws about 10-hour shifts. Instead, federal law requires overtime pay only after an employee works more than 40 hours in a week.

      What are full-time hours in Michigan?

      The  U.S. Department of Labor has no strict definition of full-time employment. The IRS and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) classify full-time employees as those working at least 30 hours a week or 130 hours a month. However, this applies only to companies considered Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) by the IRS. Smaller companies with fewer than 40 employees may have different standards.

      Michigan’s Wage and Hour Division does not determine the hours for full-time or part-time employment, either, leaving employers to establish these definitions. Full-time is typically considered 30-40 hours per week, and part-time as fewer than 30 hours. To clarify their employment status, employees should review company policy or their employment contract. 

      How many hours straight can you legally work in Michigan?

      In Michigan, there are no laws restricting the number of hours most employees can work, allowing individuals to theoretically work up to 24 hours a day. There are some exceptions for certain employees:

      • Regulated Industries: Workers in regulated fields, like trucking, must follow specific work-hour limits and take mandatory breaks.
      • Union and Contract Agreements: Employees covered by collective bargaining agreements or contracts may have daily work-hour restrictions.
      • Minors (Under 16): Minors under 16 in Michigan can work from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., up to 10 hours per day and six days per week. During school terms, they are limited to an average of 8 hours daily or 48 hours weekly, with a combined total of school and work hours not exceeding 48 hours.
      • Minors (Aged 16-17): They can work from 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on school days and until 11:30 p.m. on non-school days, with similar hour and day restrictions as minors under 16. However, they have more flexibility in their schedules in specific situations.

      Is overtime after eight hours or 40 hours in Michigan?

      Overtime is based on the number of hours worked in a week, not in a day. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which established the 40-hour workweek in 1938, requires certain employers to pay eligible employees 1.5 times their regular rate for hours worked beyond 40 in any given workweek.

      Does working on the weekend qualify for overtime pay in Michigan?

      No, working on the weekend does not automatically qualify for overtime pay in Michigan. The calculation of overtime is based on the employer-defined workweek, not on specific calendar days. There are no special rules regarding working on Saturdays, Sundays or holidays.

      Employees in Michigan can only receive overtime pay for working on the weekend, if they have already accumulated 40 hours in the workweek. Employers can schedule different workweeks for employees, therefore, it is essential to be aware of this schedule to properly calculate your overtime earnings.

      How many hours-off between shifts is required in Michigan?

      Currently, no state or federal laws in Michigan regulate the number of hours between shifts. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also does not have standards for extended or unusual shifts. While a standard shift is generally considered to be eight consecutive hours over five days, with at least eight hours of rest between shifts, employers have the freedom to set work schedules. Employers can legally call in employees when needed, and send them home during slow periods. Technically, an employee could work up to 24 hours straight. 

      However, restrictions apply to minors, collective bargaining agreements, and regulated industries. Additionally, employees must not be scheduled to work during a 10-hour rest period following the end of a shift unless they consent in writing, in which case they are compensated at 1.5 times their regular rate for any work during this period.

      What does ‘hours-worked’ include in Michigan?

      In Michigan, as guided by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), ‘hours worked’ encompasses all time during which an employee is required to be on the employer’s premises, on duty, or at the worksite. ‘Hours worked’ includes: 

      • On-Duty Time: All the time during which an employee is required to be actively engaged in duties, whether on the employer’s premises or elsewhere.
      • Preparation Time: This includes any time spent preparing for work, such as setting up equipment or changing into work uniforms if such activities are integral to their roles.
      • Waiting Time: Periods during which an employee is required to wait for work to be assigned are generally counted as hours worked when the employee must stay on the employer’s premises or cannot use the time effectively for their own purposes.
      • Rest and Meal Periods: Short rest breaks (usually lasting about 5 to 20 minutes) are counted as hours worked. However, bona fide meal periods (typically 30 minutes or longer) during which an employee is completely relieved from duty are not considered work time, unless the employee is required to work through meal periods.
      • Travel Time: The time spent traveling during normal work hours as part of the employee’s duties (like travel from job site to job site during the workday) is considered work time. However, travel to and from work (commuting) is not typically considered paid working time.
      • On-Call Time: If the employee is required to remain on call on the employer’s premises or so close that they cannot use the time effectively for their own purposes, it is considered working time.
      • Training and Meetings: Attendance at meetings, training, and similar activities need to be counted as working time unless they are outside normal hours, voluntary, not job-related, and no work is performed during them.

      What is the most hours a salaried employee can work in Michigan? 

      Michigan generally adheres to federal employment and overtime regulations, with regards to salaried employees laws. These laws don’t set a maximum daily or weekly work limit for salaried employees. Non-exempt salaried workers are eligible for overtime pay for hours worked beyond 40 in a week. It’s important to keep precise records of your working hours. If you discover you’re earning less than the minimum hourly wage, you might be able to file a wage claim.

      What is the maximum number of hours an hourly employee can work in Michigan?

      Neither state nor federal regulations impose limits on work hours for hourly employees, allowing non-exempt hourly workers over 18 to work any number of hours daily or weekly. Exceptions exist for those in regulated industries or with collective bargaining agreements that set daily hour limits. Additionally, minors under 16 cannot work more than 10 hours per day or 6 days per week. When school is in session, working hours are even more restricted. During the school term, under 16s can only work an average of 8 hours per day or 48 hours a week. The combined total of school and work hours cannot exceed 48 hours.

      Overtime Eligibility in Michigan

      Who is eligible for overtime pay in Michigan?

      In Michigan, eligibility for overtime pay is determined by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Michigan Workforce Opportunity Wage Act. Non-exempt employees, typically hourly wage earners in administrative support, customer service, or manual labor roles, qualify for overtime pay. However, Michigan law only requires overtime pay for employers with at least two employees.

      Who is exempt from overtime pay in Michigan?

      In Michigan, some professions are exempt from receiving overtime pay. Employees classified as exempt under the FLSA are not eligible for overtime pay, regardless of hours worked. Exempt professions include:

      • Workers not subject to minimum wage laws
      • Agricultural employees
      • Staff at seasonal amusement establishments
      • Public office holders
      • Administrative, professional, or executive employees like teachers and school administrators

      Retail and service employees may be classified as administrative, executive, or professional if at least 40% of their weekly work activities involve these functions.

      Can salaried employees get overtime pay in Michigan?

      Yes, some salaried employees in Michigan can receive overtime pay if they qualify as non-exempt under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under the FLSA and Michigan law, non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay at 1.5 times their regular hourly rate for all hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek.

      To determine if a salaried employee qualifies for overtime pay, their job duties and salary must be considered. Salaried employees may be eligible if:

      • They earn less than the salary threshold (currently $684 per week or $35,568 annually).
      • Their job duties do not fall into an exempt category such as executive, administrative, or professional roles.

      Overtime Payment Calculations in Michigan

      What is my regular rate of pay in Michigan?

      The regular rate of pay is what an employee earns per hour and must meet at least the minimum wage in Michigan. An hourly worker’s rate of pay is simply their standard hourly wage. For other types of employees, calculating the rate of pay is slightly more complicated: 

      Salaried employees:

      • Multiply the monthly salary by 12 to determine the annual salary.
      • Divide the annual salary by 52 (weeks in a year) to find the weekly salary.
      • Divide the weekly salary by the maximum standard hours per week (40) to determine the hourly rate.

      Piecework or commission employees (three methods):

      • The rate of the piece or commission.
      • Divide the total weekly earnings by the hours worked to find the hourly rate.
      • If working as a group, calculate the group rate by dividing the total pieces by the number of people. Multiply this rate by the number of hours worked to determine the individual hourly rate.

      How do you calculate overtime in Michigan?

      In Michigan, under federal law, overtime is paid at 1.5 times the employee’s regular hourly wage, known as “time and a half.” Non-exempt employees qualify for overtime pay if they work over 40 hours in a workweek.

      To calculate overtime pay:

      • Determine the employee’s regular hourly rate.
      • Multiply this rate by 1.5 to find the overtime hourly rate.
      • Multiply the overtime rate by the number of overtime hours worked to find the total amount of overtime pay owed.

      How is overtime taxed in Michigan?

      Michigan doesn’t have a specific tax on overtime. Overtime will only result in higher overall taxes if it pushes the employee into a higher tax bracket. Federal, state, and FICA taxes (Social Security and Medicare) apply to overtime earnings just like regular wages, without requiring separate calculations.

      Receiving Overtime Payment in Michigan

      How is overtime paid in Michigan?

      Overtime is paid just the same way as regular wages. The payment method will depend on the preferences of the employer or employee, or company policies. Employees may receive payment in cash, checks (if they can be cashed without fees), or through direct deposit into their bank account. Direct deposit is the most common payment method, for its convenience. Additionally, employees should receive a detailed paystub, either digitally or on paper.

      When do I receive my overtime paycheck in Michigan?

      Employees in Michigan should receive their overtime paycheck, along with their regular wages according to an established payday schedule. This can be paid monthly, twice a month, every two weeks, weekly, or more frequently. However, the rules can differ for hourly and salaried employees. Hourly employees must be paid weekly or biweekly, while salaried employees can be paid semi-monthly or monthly (if they voluntarily agree). Whatever the payment schedule, employers must strictly adhere to it, paying their workers their overtime paycheck at a regularly appointed time.

      Violations of Overtime Law in Michigan

      What if my employer refuses to pay me overtime in Michigan?

      If an employer in Michigan refuses to pay overtime, there are several routes employees can take: 

      • File a complaint with either the Michigan Wage and Hour Program or the U.S. Wage and Hour Division.
      • Pursue a lawsuit under the Workforce Opportunity Wage Act (WOWA). Complaints under WOWA must be filed within three years. Filing is free and requires detailed information about the dispute, with supporting documents like pay stubs or employment contracts.
      • Union members have the option to file grievances through their union contracts
      • Independent contractors typically aren’t covered by wage laws, except in cases where they have been misclassified.

      What is the penalty for failing to pay overtime in Michigan?

      In Michigan, employers can be fined by the Michigan Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for failing to pay their employees overtime. These fines can reach up to $1,000 per employee per day for each violation.If an employee files a lawsuit, other penalties an employer may face include:

      • Payment of back wages for all overtime hours worked.
      • Compensation for emotional distress, inconvenience, and lost wages.
      • Attorney’s fees.

      How can I file a wage claim for overtime in Michigan?

      Employees seeking to recover unpaid minimum wages or overtime have two options: they can file a civil lawsuit or submit a complaint to the Wage and Hour Division. The division can investigate and take legal action to recover unpaid wages or overtime.

      If the investigation finds reasonable cause for a violation, the division can act on behalf of all employees, potentially recovering unpaid wages, overtime, damages, costs, and attorney fees. Employers who fail to pay minimum wage or overtime can face a $1,000 fine.

      Employees can either pursue civil action independently or file a complaint with the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, which may investigate and recover unpaid wages on behalf of all affected employees.

      Can employers retaliate against employees for making a wage claim in Michigan?

      Employees in Michigan are protected from being fired or discriminated against in retaliation for filing a wage complaint, testifying in a proceeding, or exercising their rights regarding payment of wages and benefits. This protection is outlined in Mich. Comp. Laws § 408.483. Workplace retaliation includes:

      • Harassment or threats
      • Poor performance reviews, suspensions, and other disciplinary actions
      • Demotions, firings, or denial of promotions
      • Pay cuts or loss of benefits
      • Transfers to less desirable roles

      Employers cannot retaliate against employees who file complaints, regardless of the investigation outcome. As long as the complaint is made in good faith, employees are protected when speaking against illegal workplace practices and unfair treatment. 

      Learn more about Michigan Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

      Important Cautionary Note

      This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.