Wyoming Overtime Laws

January 23rd 2024

In the state of Wyoming, employees are protected by a set of regulations known as Wyoming Labor Laws, which include provisions related to overtime compensation. These laws ensure that employees are fairly compensated for their extra hours worked beyond the standard workweek.

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

This article covers:

Wyoming Overtime Rates

Overtime law in Wyoming is designed to prevent employees from being exploited by their employers. Employees who work over 40 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 Wyoming is $7.25 per hour, this means Wyoming’s overtime minimum rate is $10.88 per hour. 

Overtime Entitlement in Wyoming

Since Wyoming does not have its own unique overtime laws, the overtime provisions outlined in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) apply within the state. According to overtime laws, overtime pay is required for non-exempt employees.

The FLSA provides overtime entitlement for employees of certain enterprises involved in interstate commerce, producing goods for interstate commerce, or handling, selling, or working on goods.

A covered enterprise includes activities performed by one or more individuals under unified operation or common control for a common business purpose. This includes:

  • Entities with an annual gross sales volume of at least $500,000.
  • Hospitals, institutions caring for the sick, the aged, or the mentally ill residing on the premises, schools for disabled or gifted children, preschools, elementary or secondary schools, and higher education institutions.
  • Activities conducted by public agencies.

An employee’s overall eligibility for overtime pay is based on what their job duties are and what type of business they are in.

Read more about Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in Wyoming.

Mandatory Overtime in Wyoming

In Wyoming, employers hold the power to compel employees to work beyond their regular shifts when deemed necessary. This grants employers the ability to request employees to work extra hours or overtime to meet job demands or fulfill assigned responsibilities.

Additionally, Wyoming is one of 32 states that do not have any laws that prevent healthcare workers from working overtime hours. This means that healthcare workers employed in Wyoming can be compelled to work additional hours. 

In states where mandatory overtime is permissible, “at-will” employees who comply with the laws and regulations in their state can face termination for declining to work overtime. As an “at-will” employee, you can be dismissed at any time for any reason, as long as it is not discriminatory or retaliatory.

Compensatory Time in Wyoming

Non-exempt state employees in Wyoming have the option to receive compensatory time, also called “comp time”, instead of pay for overtime work. Comp time is used as a substitute for paying overtime wages and is calculated based on the actual hours worked beyond 40 hours per workweek, multiplied by time-and-a-half.

The maximum amount of comp time that a state employee can accumulate is limited to 240 hours. Employees in specific broad categories, such as fire fighting, law enforcement, dispatchers of emergency vehicles or personnel, rescue and ambulance service employees, and those engaged in seasonal activities, may be eligible to accrue up to 480 hours of comp time. 

There are certain requirements governing the usage of comp time for state employees:

  • Compensatory time must be utilized before taking any vacation leave.
  • The agency head or designated representative should allow employees who earn compensatory time to use it within a reasonable period, as long as it does not significantly disrupt agency operations.
  • Agency directors have the discretion to either pay off or require the use of compensatory time balances, considering employee needs and agency staffing requirements.

Unused comp time should be compensated according to the following:

  • Balances as of December 31 will be paid on the next regular pay period.
  • When an employee accepts a position in another agency.
  • When an employee transitions from non-exempt to exempt status within their agency.
  • Upon separation.

The compensation rate for unused comp time is calculated based on the employee’s regular pay rate. The agency is responsible for maintaining accurate records of the number of compensatory hours earned, used, or compensated in cash for each employee during each work period.

Overtime for Tipped Employees in Wyoming

Employers in Wyoming have the option to pay tipped employees a lower cash wage of $2.13 per hour. However, it is crucial that the total earnings, including tips, reach or exceed the regular state minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. If the combined amount of wages and tips fall short of the regular minimum wage, the employer is obligated to compensate the employee for the difference.

Most tipped employees are eligible for overtime pay if they work more than a specific number of hours in a week. Overtime hours are compensated at 1.5 times the employee’s regular hourly wage. Their overtime rate must be determined based on the full minimum wage, rather than the lower cash wage provided by the employer. 

Overtime for Piece Rate Workers in Wyoming

In Wyoming, if an employee is paid based on the number of pieces they produce (piece rate), their regular pay rate is determined by dividing their weekly earnings by the total number of hours worked in that week. If the employee works more than 40 hours a week, they are entitled to one and a half times their regular rate for each overtime hour, in addition to their full earnings based on the number of pieces they produce.

There is also an alternative method to compensate piece rate-based workers for overtime. If agreed upon before doing the work, an employer can pay 1.5 times the regular piece rate for each piece produced during the overtime hours. 

It is important to note that the piece rate used during overtime must be the same rate paid during regular hours and should be sufficient to ensure that the employee earns at least the minimum wage per hour.

Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in Wyoming

Certain employees in Wyoming are not entitled to receive overtime pay as per the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Employers need to review the specific terms and conditions for each exemption since they are defined in a specific and limited manner. 

Exempted from Overtime Pay:

  • Commissioned employees in retail or service establishments selling specific items.
  • Workers in the transportation industry, such as railroad and air carrier employees.
  • Employees in broadcasting stations in nonmetropolitan areas, including announcers and chief engineers.
  • Domestic service workers who live with their employers.
  • Employees in motion picture theaters.
  • Farmworkers.

Partially Exempted from Overtime Pay:

  • Certain agricultural and petroleum employees have partial overtime pay exemptions.
  • Hospitals and residential care establishments can implement a 14-day work period with overtime pay for hours exceeding 8 in a day or 80 in 14 days.
  • Employees without high school diplomas or adequate education can be required to undergo up to 10 hours of basic skills training without overtime pay, as long as it’s not job-specific and they receive their regular wages.

Recovery of Overtime Back Wages in Wyoming

Here are some ways the FLSA allows for recovering unpaid overtime wages in Wyoming:

  • Wage-Hour can oversee the payment of back wages.
  • The Secretary of Labor can file a lawsuit to seek back wages and an equal amount as liquidated damages. It can also obtain an injunction to stop FLSA violations, including the unlawful withholding of proper minimum wage and overtime pay.
  • An employee can personally file a lawsuit to claim back pay, equal liquidated damages, attorney’s fees, and court costs.

An employee cannot sue if they have already been paid back wages under Wage-Hour supervision or if the Secretary of Labor has already filed a lawsuit to recover the wages. 

It is important to note that the statute of limitations for back pay recovery is generally two years, except in cases of willful violation, where it extends to three years.

Legal Cases Relating to Overtime Compensation in Wyoming

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

1. Employee Seeks Overtime Pay Despite Being Exempted Under the FLSA

In this case, Jack C. Riley appealed the denial of his claim for overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). His employer, the Town of Basin, Wyoming, argued that Riley was an exempt employee under the FLSA and that he had prevented the Town from knowing about the extra hours he worked.

Riley was initially hired as an Office Manager but his title and job duties changed the following year. The Town changed Riley’s title to Clerk/Treasurer, Business Manager, and implemented a policy that required prior authorization for employees to work more than 40 hours per week. Riley submitted weekly time cards, but he did not claim overtime hours for the additional time he worked. 

Riley presented evidence to support his claim for unpaid overtime compensation and to rebut the Town’s defenses. However, the court held that Riley failed to prove that he worked over 40 hours per week. The court also determined that Riley qualified as an exempt executive employee. It based this conclusion on factors such as Riley’s salary, his primary duty of managing the Town’s business affairs, his supervision of employees, and his exercise of discretion in his job. 

However, the appellate court determined that the district court used the wrong legal standards in its decision. The district court considered tasks that did not show managerial responsibilities in determining Riley’s exempt status. The appellate court also disagreed with the district court’s interpretation of Riley’s burden of proof for the number of hours worked. It stressed that the burden should not be too difficult for the employee, and if the employer cannot provide precise evidence, a fair approximation of damages can be made.

Based on these findings, the appellate court remanded the case to the district court to apply the correct legal criteria in determining Riley’s entitlement to overtime compensation. 

Key lessons from this case:

  • Job titles and duties play a significant role in determining overtime eligibility under the FLSA.
  • Employers bear the burden of proving the exemption by clear and affirmative evidence.
  • Submitting time cards without claiming overtime hours may affect an employee’s ability to seek unpaid overtime compensation.
2. Former Deputy Sheriff Sought Pay for Overtime and Mileage Expenses

This case involves an appeal by Roland Smith, a former deputy sheriff, who resigned after receiving a letter of reprimand. Smith appealed the trial court’s summary judgment in favor of the Sublette County Sheriff and the Sublette County Commissioners, claiming violations of due process and equal protection. He also challenged the court’s entry of summary judgment against his claim for overtime and mileage expenses incurred during his commute to and from work.

Smith presented three issues for review: (1) the alleged violation of his right to equal protection of the law, (2) the alleged violation of his right to due process of law, and (3) the denial of his claim for overtime and mileage expenses. However, the court found that Smith failed to carry his burden of demonstrating the existence of genuine issues of fact for these claims.

Regarding the claim for overtime and mileage expenses, Smith relied on Wyoming statute § 18-3-110. However, the court determined that this provision only applied to county officers, and Smith, as a deputy sheriff, did not fall under that category. Therefore, the trial court’s entry of summary judgment against Smith on this claim was affirmed.

In conclusion, the appellate court upheld the trial court’s decision, finding no merit in Smith’s claims, and affirmed the denial of his claim for overtime and mileage expenses.

Key lessons from this case:

  • Understanding the specific categories of employees covered by statutory provisions is crucial for determining eligibility for overtime and expense reimbursement.
  • Resigning from a position can impact the viability of certain claims, especially if the relief sought is no longer necessary.
  • Employees filing a lawsuit to claim unpaid overtime wages must present substantial evidence to support their claims.
3. Employee Files Lawsuit for Unpaid Overtime Wages Despite Arbitration Agreement

In the case of Snow v. Silver Creek Midstream Holdings, LLC., Mike Snow filed a lawsuit against Silver Creek Midstream Holdings, LLC and Silver Creek Midstream Services, LLC (collectively, Silver Creek). Snow argued that he was an employee of Silver Creek and regularly worked unpaid overtime. He also sought to represent other similarly situated workers who were inspectors at Silver Creek and were paid a day rate with no overtime in the past three years. 

Applied Consultants, Inc. (Applied), Snow’s employer, argued that he was bound by an arbitration agreement he signed, which covered all claims arising from his employment. Applied contended that Snow’s claim against Silver Creek should be compelled into arbitration, as the agreement extended to such claims. Applied asserted that allowing Snow to avoid arbitration would deprive it of the benefits of its arbitration agreement and undermine the agreed-upon dispute resolution process.

Snow argued that the arbitration agreement only applied to claims between him and Applied, not Silver Creek. He claimed that Applied was attempting to rewrite the agreement and compel arbitration against Silver Creek. Snow claimed that there was no employment agreement between him and Applied on record, and the arbitration agreement specifically covered claims related to his employment with Applied, not third parties like Silver Creek. He argued that he should be allowed to pursue his claims against Silver Creek in court.

The court analyzed the arbitration agreement and found it to be clear and unambiguous. It determined that the agreement covered all claims arising from Snow’s employment with Applied, including the claim against Silver Creek. It concluded that Snow was bound by the arbitration agreement and ordered the parties to submit their dispute to binding arbitration, granting Applied’s motion to compel arbitration.

Key lessons from this case:

  • Employers cannot evade their obligations under the FLSA by using day-rate pay practices that do not account for overtime hours worked.
  • An arbitration agreement is a legally binding contract that allows parties to resolve disputes through arbitration instead of going to court.
  • An employee must abide by the arbitration agreement when looking to seek overtime back wages.

Learn more about Wyoming 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.