Missing my shift differntial for OT
January 20, 2005 5:29 PM   Subscribe

I'm a non-exempt, non-contract hourly employee who receives a second-shift differential of $.50/hour. Today I noticed that the shift differential is not being figured into my overtime rate — that is, my overtime rate is being calculated at ($N-$.50)*1.5 instead of $N*1.5. Is it normal/legal to ignore shift differential when calculating overtime pay?

I've done some Googling. So far the only specific information on what consitutes an employee's regular rate is for healthcare workers. (I'm not.)

And oh, I'm working in Minnesota for a company whose corporate headquarters are in North Carolina.
posted by nathan_teske to Work & Money (11 answers total)
Since I don't think it's common for workers on normal shifts to get paid shift differential for their overtime, it seems equitable that you shouldn't get shift differential pay for working your overtime hours.

Also, if your overtime hours fall into the "normal hours" range, maybe that's another reason.

Just MHO.
posted by aberrant at 5:42 PM on January 20, 2005

Response by poster: aberrant - I receive the shift differential because I work a night shift, not because I work overtime.
posted by nathan_teske at 5:54 PM on January 20, 2005

But if you work overtime after a night shift, does that overtime then take place in the day?
posted by jacquilynne at 6:04 PM on January 20, 2005

What jacquilynne said. At the risk of repeating, there are two possibilities:

1) Your overtime is actually "normal hours" and therefore ineligible for shift differential (since you're not working during a shift that has differential pay when you're working overtime).

2) Folks who work "normal hours" don't get shift-differential pay when they work overtime during your hours (for which you receive shift-differential pay). This might indicate a policy of NOT providing shift-differential pay for any overtime.
posted by aberrant at 6:08 PM on January 20, 2005

Response by poster: Actually I get paid my full rate (base + differential) regardless of when I work. I'm scheduled for 1:00PM - 11:30PM (we're on four 10s, not five 8s) and will usually put in my overtime at night.
posted by nathan_teske at 6:15 PM on January 20, 2005

Just checked with a friend. His company (offices nationwide) doesn't pay overtime with shift differential for nonexempts. Also, it's straight time during the week, 1.5x on weekends, and 2x at manager's discretion during holidays. Hope this add'l datapoint helps.
posted by aberrant at 6:18 PM on January 20, 2005

You may be looking at it wrong. Overtime pay is calculated as 1.5*(hourly rate). It's what you get paid for the job classification you do. The shift differential is a "bonus" for working lousy hours, which in your case is the second shift.

But have you ever worked the first shift and gotten the differential? I doubt it.

But yes, it is legal. And also quite common.
posted by bodabutton at 6:21 PM on January 20, 2005

This may seem like a silly question, but have you checked your contract/collective agreement? I only ask because I was baffled by the same thing when I worked for a Canadian municipality where employees only received the highest of applicable bonuses (if you will) in addition to the regular hourly wage. Upon checking the collective agreement, I found that it was clearly indicated that when I was receiving overtime pay (2x my regular rate of pay - we were unionized!), I would be ineligible to receive shift differential, weekend, or on call pay.
posted by lumiere at 6:27 PM on January 20, 2005

Oops - I just reread your post and noticed that you're non-contract (so asking you if you'd checked your contract/collective agreement was probably a silly thing to do). That being said, when I worked for the City of Edmonton, I was technically classed as a temporary employee (no contract for me!). The collective agreement still applied to me.
posted by lumiere at 6:32 PM on January 20, 2005

When I worked at a place that gave shift differential it worked like this:

My regular hourly wage was X. When I worked during the undesirable (overnight) hours I was paid X + $.50. When I worked overtime during the regular hours I was paid X*1.5. When I worked overtime during the shift differential hours I was paid (X*1.5) + $.50.

Yes, it's legal so long as the shift differential amount is separate from your regular wage. On my paycheque the shift differential amount was designated as a separate line on my pay, so it was clear that it was a shift 'bonus' not my regular pay. For people that normally worked during the shift differential hours, they were used to seeing the total as X+$.50 so they expected to see overtime as (X+$.50)*1.5. But when they worked overtime during the non-shift differential hours the calc was X*1.5, and overtime during the shift-differential hours was (X*1.5) + $.50. Because the shift differential was separate from the X wage, it was on the up and up.

The shift differential is essentially an incentive to work the undersirable hours, not an entitiled part of your wage (unless it's expressed as part of your wage). Does that help?

This is one of the really crappy things about working somewhere that you don't actually have a contract that you can read. You have to guess at stuff like this. It's a real pain in the neck.
posted by raedyn at 6:56 AM on January 21, 2005

I'm a little late to this conversation, but:

In the U.S., overtime is calculated at 1.5 times the regular rate of pay; and the regular rate of pay is derived from total compensation for the week:

"The regular hourly rate of pay of an employee is determined by dividing his total remuneration for employment (except statutory exclusions) in any workweek by the total number of hours actually worked by him in that workweek for which such compensation was paid."

Shift differentials aren't listed as a permitted exclusion and anything which isn't specifically listed must be added into total compensation (same reference):

"(c) Only the statutory exclusions are authorized. It is important to determine the scope of these exclusions, since all remuneration for employment paid to employees which does not fall within one of these seven exclusionary clauses must be added into the total compensation received by the employee before his regular hourly rate of pay is determined."

Even if a shift differential could be called a "bonus", it would be a non-discretionary one, and non-discretionary bonuses must also be included in the same manner when calculating the regular rate of pay.

You could also contact the Minnesota Department of Labor directly.
posted by girlie at 3:21 PM on January 23, 2005

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