Compliance Watch:
What are my overtime rights in Minnesota?

June 14th 2024

The Fair Labor and Standards Act (FLSA) and Minnesota laws protect employees by mandating additional compensation for hours worked beyond the standard workweek. However, certain exemptions and conditions apply; which may affect the employee’s eligibility for overtime pay. Employees should be aware of their overtime rights, including their classification, and understand the criteria that determine their eligibility.

This article provides a comprehensive guide to overtime rights in Minnesota, from determining overtime eligibility and understanding how overtime rates are calculated, to knowing the steps to take if their rights have been violated.

This Article Covers

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

      Understanding Overtime in Minnesota

      Is overtime pay mandatory in Minnesota?

      Yes, overtime pay is mandatory in Minnesota for eligible employees. According to both federal and state laws, employers must pay overtime to non-exempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek.

      When do I qualify for overtime pay in Minnesota?

      Most hourly employees and some salaried employees who do not meet specific exemptions are entitled to overtime pay. Exemptions are based on job duties and salary levels, which include executive, administrative, professional, and outside sales employees who meet specific criteria regarding their job duties and salary levels.

      How much is overtime pay in Minnesota?

      In Minnesota, overtime pay is calculated as one and a half (1.5) times the employee’s regular pay rate for any hours worked over 48 in a workweek. However, certain employees may be exempt from overtime requirements based on their job duties and salary level.

      Which laws govern overtime in Minnesota?

      The laws governing overtime in Minnesota include both federal and state regulations:

      • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA): The FLSA is a federal law establishing minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards. It applies to most employees in the private sector and federal, state, and local governments.
      • Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act (MFLSA): Minnesota state labor law aligns closely with the FLSA but may have additional provisions and protections specific to the state. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry enforces the MLSA.

      Common Questions About Overtime in Minnesota

      Do employers have to pay overtime in Minnesota?

      Yes, employers in Minnesota are required to pay overtime to eligible employees. Both federal and state laws mandate overtime pay for non-exempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek.

      Can an employee refuse to work overtime in Minnesota?

      In Minnesota, whether an employee can refuse to work overtime largely depends on the terms of their employment agreement and the employer’s policies. Employers can require employees to work overtime and refusal to do so can lead to disciplinary action, including termination, unless specific contractual or union agreements provide otherwise.

      Remember, Minnesota is an employment-at-will state, meaning employers can set the terms of employment, including the overtime requirements, and terminate employees who refuse to comply with these requirements (as long as it does not violate any contracts or discrimination laws).

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

      No, compensatory time off (“comp time”) instead of overtime pay compensation is not allowed for private sector employees. Federal and state laws require that non-exempt employees be paid overtime wages for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

      However, public sector (government) employees may be allowed to receive comp time instead of overtime pay under certain circumstances. Comp time is accrued at a rate of 1.5 hours for each hour of overtime worked.

      Can I get overtime pay in Minnesota without employer approval?

      Many employers have policies that require employees to obtain approval before working overtime. This is to manage labor costs and ensure that overtime is used appropriately. Despite working overtime without prior approval, you are still entitled to receive overtime compensation.

      However, your employer may enforce internal policies requiring approval and could take disciplinary action if you work unauthorized overtime. If you are not paid for the overtime hours you worked, you have the right to seek legal recourse to obtain the wages you are owed.

      Does Minnesota have double-time pay?

      Minnesota has no state law requiring employers to pay double time for any hours worked, including holidays, weekends, or hours beyond a certain threshold. Instead, the state follows the federal FLSA guidelines, which mandate that non-exempt employees receive overtime pay at 1.5 times their regular pay rate for hours over 40 in a workweek.

      However, some employers may offer double time as part of their company policy or a collective bargaining agreement. If an employer has a policy that provides for double-time pay, they must adhere to that policy.

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

      Working ‘off-the-clock’ refers to performing job-related tasks or activities outside the regular hours for which an employee is not compensated. This could include answering emails or phone calls, attending meetings or training sessions, completing paperwork, or performing other job-related duties before or after scheduled shifts or during meal breaks.

      In Minnesota, employees are required to compensate employees for all hours worked, including time spent working beyond the regular hours. Employees who believe they have been required to work without proper compensation may file a claim or legal action to pursue unpaid wages.

      What are common ways employers avoid paying overtime in Minnesota?

      Some employers in Minnesota may attempt to avoid paying overtime through various unlawful practices. It is important to recognize these tactics as they are violations of both state and federal labor laws. Common ways employers might try to avoid paying overtime include:

      • Misclassifying employees: Employers may improperly classify non-exempt employees as exempt from overtime. For example, they could label employees as managers or independent contractors when they do not meet the criteria for these classifications.
      • Failing to pay for all hours worked: Employers might not count certain hours as work time, such as time spent on work-related tasks before clocking in or after clocking out, travel between job sites, or mandatory training sessions.
      • Encouraging off-the-clock work: Employers may encourage employees to perform work tasks off the clock, such as answering emails, completing paperwork, or setting up for the next day.
      • Averaging hours worked: Employers average hours over two weeks to avoid paying overtime. For example, if an employee works 45 hours one week and 35 hours the next, the employer might falsely claim that no overtime is due because the average is 40 hours per week.
      • Altering work schedules: Some employers may illegally alter or manipulate time records to reflect fewer hours worked, thereby avoiding overtime payments.
      • Offering compensatory time: Instead of paying overtime, some employers offer compensatory time off at a later date, which is prohibited for private-sector non-exempt employees under the FLSA.
      • Failing to pay short breaks: Employers might not count short breaks as hours worked, but under the FLSA, breaks of less than 20 minutes must be considered hours worked, and thus compensated.
      • Not paying for unauthorized overtime: While employers can implement policies requiring overtime authorization, they still must pay for any overtime worked, even if it was not pre-approved.
      • Compelling staff to work during breaks: Employers might pressure employees to work during their meal breaks or rest periods without compensating them for their rendered hours.

      Can you work seven days in a row in Minnesota?

      Yes, you can work seven days in a row in Minnesota. No state or federal law limits the number of consecutive days an employee can be required to work. Employers have the discretion to set work schedules, which can include working seven days or more in a row.

      While there are no restrictions on the number of consecutive days worked, non-exempt employees must receive overtime pay for any hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Moreover, Minnesota labor laws require employers to provide adequate rest breaks and meal periods.

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

      There are no specific legal limits on how many consecutive ten-hour days an employee can work in Minnesota. However, employers must comply with overtime pay requirements for hours worked over 40 in a workweek and ensure that adequate rest and meal breaks are provided.

      Employers should also consider the health and safety implications of scheduling long shifts, and employees should be aware of their rights and communicate any concerns about their work schedule.

      What are full-time hours in Minnesota?

      In Minnesota, there is no specific legal definition of full-time hours. Determination of full-time status is left to the employer’s discretion and is often defined by company policy or industry standards.

      Many employers consider full-time employment between 35 to 40 hours per week. This standard is often used for determining eligibility for benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off.

      How many hours straight can you legally work in Minnesota?

      Neither Minnesota law nor the FLSA sets a maximum limit on the number of hours an employee can work in one day. Minnesota law mandates employers to provide employees rest breaks of at least 20 minutes in every 4 hours of work, and meal periods of at least 30 minutes in every eight or more consecutive hours of work.

      Learn more about Minnesota Break Law in our detailed guide.

      Is overtime after eight hours or 40 hours in Minnesota?

      Overtime hours in Minnesota are calculated on the hours worked over 40 in a workweek. The state does not require overtime pay for hours worked over eight hours in a day; the focus of overtime compensation in Minnesota is on the total hours worked in a week.

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

      Working on the weekend in Minnesota does not automatically qualify an employee for overtime pay unless the total hours worked in the workweek exceed 40 hours. Overtime pay is determined based on the total hours worked weekly, not specific days worked. Employees should know their weekly hours and any specific company policies that might provide additional compensation for weekend work.

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

      There is no state-mandated minimum rest period between shifts for adult employees. Employers have the flexibility to schedule shifts as needed, but they must ensure compliance with other labor laws and consider health and safety implications. Special provisions may apply to youth workers and unionized employees under collective bargaining agreements.

      What does ‘hours-worked’ include in Minnesota?

      In Minnesota, “hours-worked” includes all the time an employee must be in the workplace, on duty, or at a prescribed work location. This includes:

      • The employee’s actual work hours or the time an employee spends to finish their assigned tasks.
      • When an employee must remain on or near the workplace and cannot use the time effectively, on-call time is considered work hours.
      • When an employee attends training programs, lectures, and meetings that require attendance, or if the training is directly related to the employee’s job.
      • Rest periods of 20 minutes or less during work hours are considered hours worked. However, bona fide meal periods (30 minutes or more) do not count as work time, provided the employee is completely relieved of duty.
      • Travel that is part of the job, such as from job site to job site during the workday, is considered hours worked. However, commuting time from home to work is not included.
      • If an employee is required to wait while on duty, this time is considered hours worked. However, if an employee arrives early for their shift out of personal choice and waits to start work, this time is not counted.

      What is the most number of hours a salaried employee can work in Minnesota? 

      As with federal law, there is no legal limit on the number of hours a salaried employee can work in a standard workweek. However, whether a salaried employee is entitled to overtime pay depends on whether they are classified as exempt or non-exempt under Fair Labor Standards and Minnesota labor laws.

      Learn more about Your Rights as a Salaried Employee in Minnesota.

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

      Minnesota has no statutory limit on the number of hours an hourly employee can work in a day or a week. However, the federal FLSA and state laws require that non-exempt hourly employees should be compensated at an overtime rate for hours worked beyond a certain threshold.

      Learn more about Your Rights as an Hourly Employee in Minnesota.

      Overtime Eligibility in Minnesota

      Who is eligible for overtime pay in Minnesota?

      Non-exempt employees in Minnesota are eligible for overtime pay. Generally, these employees are paid on an hourly basis and do not fall under specific exemptions set by the FLSA and MFLSA.

      While many salaried employees are exempt from overtime, not all are. Salaried employees who earn below a certain threshold or whose job duties do not meet the criteria for executive, administrative, or professional exemptions may still be eligible for overtime pay.

      Who is exempt from overtime pay in Minnesota?

      Certain employees may be exempt from overtime pay under federal and state law. Exemption status is determined based on specific criteria related to job duties, including:

      • Executive exemption: Employees whose primary duties involve managing the enterprise or a recognized department or subdivision.
      • Administrative exemption: Employees whose primary duties involve office or non-manual work directly related to management policies or general business operations.
      • Professional exemption: Employees whose primary duties involve computer systems analysis, programming, or software engineering. These employees must meet certain salary requirements to qualify for exemption.
      • Outside sales exemption: Employees whose primary duties involve making sales or obtaining orders or contracts for services or facilities.

      Furthermore, these exempt employees must be paid at least the minimum salary threshold established by federal and state law to qualify for exemption. As of 2024, the federal threshold is $684 per week ($35,568 annually).

      Can salaried employees get overtime pay in Minnesota?

      Yes, salaried employees in Minnesota can be eligible for overtime pay, but it depends on their specific job duties and salary level. To be classified as exempt, a salaried employee must have an executive, administrative, or professional role, and earn more than $684 per week ($35,568 annually).

      Learn more in detail about Minnesota Salaried Employees Laws and Minnesota Overtime Laws.

      Overtime Payment Calculations in Minnesota

      What is my regular rate of pay in Minnesota?

      In Minnesota, the minimum hourly rate is $10.85 for employees under large employers and $8.85 for small employers; their overtime wages are $16.28 and $13.28, respectively. However, for salaried employees, calculating their regular rate of pay is determined by dividing the employee’s total weekly salary by the number of hours worked within that week.

      How do you calculate overtime in Minnesota?

      Overtime pay is calculated based on the FLSA guidelines, which establish that eligible employees must receive overtime pay at a rate of 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for any hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek.

      For hourly employees, their regular pay rate is their hourly wage. For salaried employees, it is calculated by dividing their total weekly salary by the number of hours worked in that week.

      If an employee earns $15 per hour and works 45 hours in a single workweek, then:

      • Overtime hours = 45 hours – 40 hours = 5 hours
      • Overtime rate = $15 x 1.5 = $22.5 per additional hour
      • Overtime pay = 5 hours x $22.5 = $112.50

      How is overtime taxed in Minnesota?

      Overtime pay is subject to federal and state income taxes, including Social Security and Medicare taxes. It is important to note that while overtime pay may push an employee’s total earnings into a higher tax bracket temporarily, only the income within that bracket is taxed at a higher rate. Employees can refer to their pay stubs to understand the amounts withheld for each type of tax from their overtime earnings.

      Receiving Overtime Payment in Minnesota

      How is overtime paid in Minnesota?

      Minnesota employers must include overtime pay in the regular payroll cycle, ensuring that employees receive timely compensation. Payment for overtime work must be made in the same form as regular wages, which could be through direct deposit, check, or other agreed-upon payment methods.

      When do I receive my overtime paycheck in Minnesota?

      Employees must receive their overtime pay according to the same pay schedule as their regular wages. This means that overtime pay should be included in the paycheck for the pay period in which the overtime hours were worked. Employers are required to comply with their established pay schedules, whether they are weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly.

      Violations of Overtime Law in Minnesota

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

      If your employer refuses to pay you overtime, keep a detailed record of your hours worked, including any overtime hours and communications with the employer regarding unpaid overtime. This will help you file a wage claim if need be.

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

      Employers who fail to pay overtime in Minnesota can face the following penalties:

      • Back pay: Employers may be required to pay back wages for the unpaid overtime.
      • Liquidated damages: Employees may be entitled to receive an amount equal to the unpaid overtime wages as liquidated damages.
      • Civil penalties: The employer may be subject to additional civil penalties imposed by the state.
      • Attorney’s fees and court costs: If the case goes to court and the employee prevails, the employer may be required to pay the employee’s attorney’s fees and court costs.

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

      To file a wage claim in Minnesota, you must gather all necessary documentation to support your claims. Fill out the wage claim form, which is available on the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry website.

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

      No, employers cannot legally retaliate against employees for making a wage claim. Minnesota law protects employees from retaliation, which includes any adverse action such as termination, demotion, reduction in hours, or any other form of discrimination or harassment, for asserting their rights under wage and hour laws.

      If you believe you have been terminated wrongfully, file a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, or seek legal assistance from an employment attorney.

      Learn more about Minnesota 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.