Compliance Watch:
What are my overtime rights in Nebraska?

June 10th 2024

Overtime laws, both at the federal and state levels, are designed to protect workers by mandating additional compensation for hours worked beyond a standard workweek. Understanding your overtime rights in Nebraska is essential for ensuring you receive fair compensation for your work.

This article provides a comprehensive guide to the overtime rights of employees in Nebraska, from addressing overtime eligibility to understanding how overtime rates are calculated and steps to take if employee rights have been violated.

This Article Covers

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

      Understanding Overtime in Nebraska

      Is overtime pay mandatory in Nebraska?

      Yes, overtime pay is mandatory in Nebraska for non-exempt employees. Following the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are required to pay non-exempt employees overtime at a rate of 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

      When do I qualify for overtime pay in Nebraska?

      You qualify for overtime pay if you work more than 40 hours in a single workweek. Overtime is calculated on a weekly basis, not on a daily basis. Therefore, even if you work more than 8 hours in a day, you only qualify for overtime if your total hours worked exceed 40 in the workweek.

      How much is overtime pay in Nebraska?

      Overtime pay in Nebraska is calculated based on the federal FLSA. The overtime rate is one and a half (1.5) times the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

      Which laws govern overtime in Nebraska?

      Overtime pay in Nebraska is governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which requires overtime pay for non-exempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek. The FLSA establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards. Under the FLSA, non-exempt employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

      Common Questions About Overtime in Nebraska

      Do employers have to pay overtime in Nebraska?

      Yes, employers in Nebraska are required to pay overtime to non-exempt employees under FLSA. This means eligible employees must receive overtime pay at one and a half times their regular rate for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Employers must comply with these regulations to avoid penalties and ensure fair employee compensation.

      Can an employee refuse to work overtime in Nebraska?

      Whether an employee can refuse to work overtime generally depends on the terms of their employment agreement and the policies set by their employer. Employees can be required to work overtime if it is part of their job requirements, and refusal to do so can lead to disciplinary actions, including termination.

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

      In Nebraska, the option to take compensatory time off (comp time) instead of receiving overtime pay depends on whether you work in the public or private sector, as different rules apply. The FLSA does not allow private sector employers to offer comp time in lieu of overtime pay. Instead, private sector employers must pay non-exempt employees overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

      Only the public sector (government) employees can legally be given comp time instead of overtime pay. Comp time must be accrued at a rate of 1.5 hours for each hour of overtime worked.

      Can I get overtime pay in Nebraska without employer approval?

      Employees are entitled to overtime pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek, even if the overtime was not pre-approved by the employer. While employers can enforce policies requiring prior approval for overtime work, they must still pay for any overtime hours worked. Employers can take disciplinary action for unauthorized overtime but cannot withhold payment for the hours worked.

      Does Nebraska have double-time pay?

      Nebraska does not have a state-specific law requiring double-time pay. Overtime pay requirements in Nebraska are governed by the federal FLSA, which mandates overtime pay at one and a half times the regular rate for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Any double-time pay provisions would depend on individual employer policies or collective bargaining agreements, not state or federal law.

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

      Working ‘off-the-clock’ refers to situations where employees perform job-related tasks outside of their regular paid working hours and are not compensated for that time. This includes:

      • Pre-shift and post-shift activities: Performing tasks before clocking in or after clocking out, such as preparing workstations, attending briefings, or cleaning up.
      • Working through breaks: Performing work during unpaid lunch breaks or other unpaid rest periods.
      • Remote work: Responding to work-related emails, and calls, or completing tasks outside regular working hours without compensation.
      • Training and meetings: Attending training sessions, meetings, or other work-related events without being paid for that time.

      What are common ways employers avoid paying overtime in Nebraska?

      Employers in Nebraska might try various strategies to avoid paying overtime, some of which may be illegal. Here are some common tactics and the legal implications associated with each:

      • Misclassifying employees: Employers might classify employees as “exempt” from overtime requirements even when they do not meet the criteria for exemption. Misclassifying non-exempt employees to avoid paying overtime is a violation of the FLSA.
      • Incorrectly calculating hours: Employers may not count all the hours an employee works, including time spent on pre-shift and post-shift activities, working through breaks, or taking work home. Some employers refuse to pay for overtime hours that were not pre-approved, even if the employee worked them. Employers must pay for all hours worked.
      • Comp time in lieu of overtime pay: Private sector employers might offer compensatory time off instead of paying overtime wages, which is not allowed under the FLSA. In the private sector, the FLSA requires overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Comp time can only be offered in the public sector under specific conditions.
      • Misclassifying employees as independent contractors: Employers might classify employees as independent contractors to avoid paying overtime. Independent contractors are not entitled to overtime pay. However, the nature of the working relationship determines classification, and misclassification can lead to significant penalties.
      • Encouraging off-the-clock work: Employers might encourage or require employees to perform work-related tasks off the clock, such as checking emails, making phone calls, or completing tasks from home without pay.
      • Not including all pay in overtime calculations: Employers might exclude bonuses, commissions, or other forms of compensation from the regular pay when calculating overtime. The FLSA requires that the regular pay rate include most forms of compensation, and failing to do so can result in underpayment of overtime.

      Can you work seven days in a row in Nebraska?

      In Nebraska, no specific state laws prohibit employees from working seven days in a row. Employers are generally allowed to schedule employees to work seven days in a row if they choose to do so. However, employers must comply with federal regulations regarding rest periods, overtime pay, and other labor standards outlined in the FLSA.

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

      No specific state laws dictate the maximum number of consecutive ten-hour workdays an employee can work in a row. However, employers may be required to provide adequate rest breaks or meal periods to employees working extended shifts. If an employee works more than 40 hours in a workweek, they may be entitled to overtime pay for the hours worked over 40.

      What are full-time hours in Nebraska?

      Full-time hours in Nebraska are generally associated with 40 hours per week, but there is no specific definition established by state law. Employers may set their standards for full-time employment based on their operational needs, industry standards, and internal policies.

      How many hours straight can you legally work in Nebraska?

      There are no specific state laws in Nebraska limiting the maximum number of consecutive hours an employee can work in a single shift. However, employers must comply with federal regulations outlined in the Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA), which standards for workplace safety, including limits on working hours to prevent fatigue-related accidents and injuries.

      Learn more about Nebraska Break Law in our detailed guide.

      Is overtime after eight hours or 40 hours in Nebraska?

      Overtime pay in Nebraska is primarily based on the total hours worked in a workweek rather than the number of hours worked in a single day. Once the employee surpasses the threshold of 40 hours per workweek for overtime eligibility, they are entitled to overtime pay for each additional hour worked.

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

      Whether working on the weekend qualifies for overtime pay depends on the total number of hours worked by the employee in the workweek. An employee must have worked 40 hours in a workweek to qualify for the hours worked during overtime

      How many hours off between shifts is required in Nebraska?

      In Nebraska, no specific state laws that require a minimum number of hours off between shifts for adult workers. However, employers should be mindful of federal regulations, industry standards, and employee well-being when establishing shift schedules and rest periods. Employers need to communicate clear policies regarding rest periods between shifts to ensure compliance with relevant laws and promote a safe and healthy work environment.

      What does ‘hours worked’ include in Nebraska?

      The FLSA defines ‘hours worked’ as all time an employee is required to be on duty, on the employer’s premises, or at any other prescribed time place of work, as well as any time during which an employee is permitted to work. Here are some of the considered ‘hours worked’ in Nebraska:

      • Time spent performing job duties, tasks, or responsibilities assigned by the employer, whether productive or non-productive.
      • Time spent attending training sessions, meetings, or briefings required by the employer.
      • Time spent waiting to be engaged for work while on-call, if the employee is restricted from using the time for personal pursuits.
      • Time spent traveling for work-related purposes during normal working hours, including travel between job sites, client locations, or training sites.
      • Time spent on activities necessary to start or finish work, such as setting up equipment, putting on protective gear, and completing paperwork.
      • Time spent in short breaks, while meal periods of 30 minutes or more may be unpaid if the e employee is completely relieved from duty.
      • Time worked off the clock if the employer knew or should have known that the employee was performing work.

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

      Nebraska has no specific limit on the maximum of hours a salaried employee can work in a week. Salaried employees are typically exempt from overtime pay requirements if they meet certain criteria related to job duties, salary level, and salary basis.

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

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

      In Nebraska, there is no specific state law that sets the maximum number of hours an hourly employee can work in a single day or week. However, employers are required to pay non-exempt employees for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Employers must ensure they comply with federal overtime regulations and consider the well-being of employees when scheduling work hours.

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

      Overtime Eligibility in Nebraska

      Who is eligible for overtime pay in Nebraska?

      In Nebraska, eligibility for overtime pay is primarily determined by the federal FLSA. The FLSA establishes the criteria for determining which employees are entitled to overtime pay. Most hourly workers are considered non-exempt under the FLSA and are entitled to overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Salaried workers must be non-exempt to be eligible for overtime pay requirements.

      Who is exempt from overtime pay in Nebraska?

      Certain categories of employees are exempt from overtime pay requirements under the FLSA. Exempt employees are not entitled to overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Here are the main categories of employees who may be exempt from overtime pay in Nebraska:

      • Salary basis: Employees who earn at least $684 per week ($35,568 annually). Employers must note that salary thresholds are subject to change.
      • Executive exemption: Employees whose primary duty is managing the company or a department of the company. Such employees also manage at least two or more employees.
      • Administrative exemption: Employees whose primary duty is performing office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer.
      • Professional exemption: Employees whose primary duty is performing work requiring advanced knowledge in a field of science or learning customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction. This also includes employees whose primary duty is performing work requiring invention, imagination, originality, or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor.
      • Computer employee exemption: Employees whose primary duty consists of designing, developing, documenting, analyzing, creating, testing, or modifying computer systems or programs. They must be paid on a salary basis of not less than $684 per week or be paid at an hourly rate of not less than $27.63 per hour.
      • Highly compensated employees: Employees who customarily and regularly perform any one or more of the exempt duties or responsibilities of an executive, administrative, or professional employee. They must receive a total annual compensation of at least $107,432.

      Can salaried employees get overtime pay in Nebraska?

      Yes, salaried employees can get overtime pay in Nebraska depending on their classification under the FLSA. Non-exempt salaried employees are eligible for overtime pay and must receive the compensation at a rate of at least 1.5 times their regular hourly rate for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

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

      Overtime Payment Calculations in Nebraska

      What is my regular rate of pay in Nebraska?

      Your regular rate of pay in Nebraska is the amount you are paid per hour of work before any overtime premiums are applied. Whether you are paid hourly or on a salary basis, accurately calculating your regular pay is crucial for determining one’s overtime pay rate.

      How do you calculate overtime in Nebraska?

      Overtime pay in Nebraska is calculated based on the requirements established by the FLSA. Here’s how you can calculate overtime pay:

      • Determine the employee’s regular hourly rate of pay. If the salaried employee is non-exempt, calculate their regular rate of pay by dividing their weekly salary by the number of hours they are normally expected to work in a week.
      • Calculate the overtime rate, which is one and a half times the employee’s regular rate of pay. (Overtime rate = regular rate of pay x 1.5)
      • Determine the number of hours worked over 40 in the workweek.
      • Multiply the number of hours by the overtime rate to determine the total amount of overtime pay.

      For example, you earn $15 per hour and work 45 hours in a workweek. Your overtime rate would be $22.5 per hour, and your overtime pay for the additional 5 hours worked would be $112.50.

      How is overtime taxed in Nebraska?

      Overtime pay in Nebraska is taxed in the same manner as regular wages, including federal and state income taxes, as well as FICA taxes. Employees should be aware of their tax obligations and may need to adjust their tax withholdings to account for overtime pay and avoid underpayment penalties.

      Receiving Overtime Payment in Nebraska

      How is overtime paid in Nebraska?

      Overtime pay in Nebraska should be included in the employee’s regular paycheck for the pay period in which the overtime work was performed. Employers must provide an itemized pay stub that clearly shows the hours worked, the regular rate of pay, and the overtime pay. This ensures transparency and allows employees to verify they are being paid correctly.

      When do I receive my overtime paycheck in Nebraska?

      Under the FLSA, payment for all hours worked must be paid promptly. Overtime compensation must be provided in the regular paycheck for the pay period in which the overtime was worked.

      • If you are paid weekly, your overtime pay should be included in the paycheck following the week the overtime hours were worked.
      • For bi-weekly payroll schedules, overtime pay should be included in the paycheck covering the two-week period in which the overtime was worked.
      • If you are paid semi-monthly (twice a month), overtime worked in the first half of the month should be paid in the paycheck for that period, and similarly for the second half.
      • For those paid monthly, any overtime worked within the month should be included in the paycheck issued at the end of that month.

      Violations of Overtime Law in Nebraska

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

      If your employer in Nebraska refuses to pay you overtime, start by documenting all hours worked and reviewing your pay records. Attempt to resolve the issue internally by speaking with your employer or HR department. If this does not resolve the issue, file a complaint with the Nebraska Department of Labor or with the Wage and Hour Division of the US Department of Labor. You can also consult an attorney and potentially file a lawsuit to recover unpaid wages and other damages.

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

      Failure to pay overtime in Nebraska can result in significant penalties and legal consequences for employers. Potential penalties and legal consequences for employers who fail to pay overtime include:

      • Back pay: Employers must pay employees all unpaid overtime wages. This back pay covers the difference between what the employee was paid and what they should have been paid under the FLSA.
      • Liquidated damages: In addition to back pay, employers may be required to pay liquidated damages equal to the amount of unpaid overtime. This effectively doubles the amount the employer owes.
      • Fines and Imprisonment: Willful violations of the FLSA can lead to fines of up to $10,000 or imprisonment for up to six months.

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

      To file a wage claim for overtime in Nebraska, you have to familiarize your overtime rights and ensure that you are classified as a non-exempt employee eligible for overtime pay. Before filing a wage claim, consider discussing the issue with your employer. If you are unable to resolve the issue with your employer, you can file a wage claim with the Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL).

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

      No, employers cannot retaliate against employees for making a wage claim in Nebraska. Retaliation against employees for exercising their rights under wage and hour laws, such as filing a wage claim for unpaid overtime, is illegal and prohibited under federal and state laws. Employees who believe they have been retaliated against should document the retaliation and may pursue legal action to seek remedies and hold their employer accountable.

      Learn more about Nebraska 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.