A policy addressing overtime should be included in your organization’s handbook. While employers should have policies requiring advance permission for overtime, they violate the law if they are aware hourly employees are exceeding 40 hours per week and aren’t paid overtime. If employees work overtime without permission, they can be disciplined for violating policy, but overtime must still be paid.
Non-exempt employees generally cannot volunteer to work overtime without pay. This can become difficult to separate when a non-exempt employee attends a church and is actively involved in ministry. For example, the church secretary also serves as a Sunday school teacher.
In this example, if part of the secretary’s job is to collate materials for all the Sunday School classes, he or she must be paid for this time and cannot volunteer to stay late to complete the project. The key is to differentiate in a position description, as much as possible, between job duties and the organization’s volunteer opportunities.
In many states, it’s unlawful for private sector employers to provide compensatory time off to non-exempt employees, with limited exceptions. Also known as “comp time,” this practice involves offering employees additional time off instead of paying them overtime wages. Before offering a comp time policy to your employees, you will want to have a local attorney review your policy to ensure it complies with applicable laws.
Employees who are exempt from the provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are not eligible for and do not receive overtime payment. The FLSA sets out specific criteria for an employee’s position to be exempt. Failing to properly classify employees can cause legal problems. For example, a janitor is classified by the church to be an exempt employee and receives a salary. He or she typically works 55 hours per week. He or she terminates employment and claims his or her position was improperly classified. In this situation, the church may end up owing the former employee overtime for the 15 hours a week he or she was not paid overtime.
States often have their own laws governing overtime, which can sometimes be more stringent than federal law. Your organization is encouraged to consider consulting with a locally licensed attorney to ensure that the organization’s overtime policy complies with all applicable laws.
NOTE: Employers may require an employee to work overtime, and they must pay non-exempt employees overtime, regardless of whether the overtime was approved.
Occasionally an excessive volume of work accumulates, or an emergency arises, that requires a non-exempt employee to work overtime. Overtime is defined as that portion of time that is “actually worked” in excess of 40 hours in one work week. Overtime will be required only when necessary, but employees are expected to work overtime when asked to do so. Non-exempt employees are not to work overtime without prior permission of the business administrator.
Overtime is paid to non-exempt employees for time “actually worked” over 40 hours in one work week. This means that if you take sick or vacation time or have jury duty or funeral leave on one or more days during a work week, overtime would not be paid until you had worked more than 40 hours. Exempt employees are not eligible for overtime.
Note: Your organization may wish to include the current overtime rate in your state (after confirming it with a local attorney).
This is a sample handbook policy only. Your organization is responsible for compliance with all applicable laws. Accordingly, this document should not be used or adopted by your organization without first being reviewed and approved by a licensed attorney in your area.
This sample policy is published with permission from Working Together—A Guide to Employment Practices for Christian Employers.
© 2022 Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company. All rights reserved. www.brotherhoodmutual.com/working-together. Updated 9/2021.