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Do Seasonal Employees Get Paid Overtime?

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Around the holidays, many employers, especially those in retail, are in hiring mode. They are looking for seasonal employees. These temporary employees are needed to help meet consumer holiday shopping demands. There are longer business hours, and therefore the chance to make more money. While there are sacrifices to working over the holiday, it can be worth it when there's overtime pay involved. There are criteria to meet to qualify for overtime pay and the criteria are set by the federal government, not the employer.


Whether a seasonal employee qualifies for overtime pay depends on several factors, including whether the job is non-exempt. When the job is non-exempt, an employee is covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act. That means there are minimum wage rules and regulations in place, including overtime regulations. The non-exempt employee is paid an hourly rate, not a salary.


When an employee's job is categorized as exempt, there is no overtime pay. So, whether the employee worked 40 hours a week or 60 hours a week, the compensation does not change. The employee is working to complete a task where the amount of time spent is not factored. Exempt employees typically include farmers, those in recreational establishments and those who are paid a yearly salary, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Hours Worked

When a seasonal employee is non-exempt and has worked above 40 hours in a week, the employee must be paid overtime, according to a 2012 "U.S. News & World Report" article on employee workplace rights. Overtime pay comes into play for hours worked above 40 hours and that means a rate of time-and-a-half. For example, if a non-exempt employee is paid $20 an hour and worked 45 hours in a week, he must be paid at the hourly rate for 40 hours and $30 for each additional hour above the 40.

Extra Benefits

On top of overtime pay for seasonal non-exempt employees, there may be benefits such as additional pay and perks. According to a 2012 "Forbes" article on the benefits of working during the holidays, you can see some employees get paid double overtime wages as well as benefits such as the opportunity to take on additional responsibilities for career growth and building a better reputation in the workplace as a team player.


Wendy Lau entered the communication field in 2001. She works as a freelance writer and prior to that was a PR executive responsible for health care clients' written materials. Her writing experience include technical articles, corporate materials, online articles, blogs, byline articles, travel itineraries and business profile listings. She holds a Bachelor of Science in corporate communications from Ithaca College.

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