Is it legal to break up overtime between 2 different weeks/pay periods?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it legal to break up overtime between 2 different weeks/pay periods?

Recently, my employer changed the way that they are calculating our hours and it is hurting me as a graveyard overnight shift worker. Before we would get hours calculated from the hour clocked in to out from night to morning. say in at 11 pm Monday out at 7 am Tuesday 8 hours. Now they are calculating start time to 12 am, then 12 am to out time and cutting off the end of the pay week at 12 am, regardless of whether or not we are still working until Saturday morning. Our pay weeks start on

Saturday and end on Friday. This has led to missing hours that, due to lack of coverage, should have been overtime hours. In all I should have gotten a total of $50.90 hours that week, however because they cut off the pay week and this was also last day of pay period exactly at midnight, I only ended up

with $43.83. I believe that they are doing this to cut the hours of overtime that they will have to pay out. They are saying that the hours will be applied to the next week/pay period but that week we had coverage, so I did not make it past 40 hours even with the

Asked on April 3, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

An employer may set the work week to be anything it likes, so long as 1) you have notice of any changes before you do the work (i.e. they can't retroactively make a change without prior notice), and 2) they are consistent in how they do it (i.e. they can't have different weeks for each employee). Once they set a work week, while they have to track and pay you for all work you did, they can attribute hours to the correct week, even if the way the weeks break costs you overtime--again, as long as they tracked the hours properly and matched them agains the correct week, they have done what they had to.

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