The following is related to Illinois law only and is compiled from our conversations with various Illinois labor attorneys.
1. Verify whether your company pays overtime. Not all employers are required to pay overtime. Illinois employers that earn about $500,000 or more in annual revenue typically have to pay. If your employer earns significantly less than $500,000 in revenues each year, you are likely not entitled to overtime pay.
2. The same rules apply to all sizes of employers. Employers in IL must follow overtime laws regardless of size. For instance, if you own a company and are the only employee, you must receive overtime pay (as long as you are not exempt). The law is not affected by the employer’s size.
3. Understand “exempt.” Some employees are exempt and are not covered by OT laws. If you are exempt, you will not receive extra pay when you work over 40 hours per week.
4. Determine whether you are exempt. Generally under Illinois law, highly skilled employees such as executives, managers and professionals like doctors, lawyers and engineers are exempted from OT laws. If you are unsure, an Illinois employment attorney can help you determine whether you are exempt.
5. Receiving a salary does NOT mean you are exempt. Being paid a salary does not automatically make you exempt from overtime pay; the nature of your position determines whether you are entitled to overtime. Consult with an Illinois employment attorney to determine if you should receive more money whether you receive a salary or an hourly wage.
6. Check your overtime pay date. Payments should be paid on your regularly scheduled pay date. An employer generally cannot hold your pay until a later date.
7. Training time counts. Time you spend attending training meetings, seminars and conferences for your company is usually included in calculating OT unless all of the following is true:
1) the training is voluntary, and
2) takes place outside regular work hours, and
3) is not directly related to the your job, and
4) you do not complete any work for your employer during the training. Again, these tips are based on Illinois law.
8. It is illegal for your employer to ask you to waive your right to overtime. Your employer cannot ask you to waive this right. Even if you did agree to sign a waiver, the agreement is not enforceable unless 1) the waiver was specifically approved by the Illinois Department of Labor, or 2) you were represented by a lawyer when you made the agreement. If you agreed to a waiver and neither of these situations applies, an Illinois employment attorney can help you determine whether you are entitled to back pay.
9. Collect your overtime back pay. You can collect back pay that you earned during last two years. If your employer was intentionally violating the law (for instance, by having you sign an illegal waiver of overtime rights), you can collect back pay from the last three years. An Illinois employment attorney can help you collect pay that is owed to you.
10. Get more information on the law. If you think you may have a legal issue related to OT pay, an Illinois employment attorney can help you determine whether to bring a case against your employer. You should also read the Fair Labor Standards Act which is a Federal law. Most of the law applies in Illinois, although there are a few differences regarding which employees are exempt.