The FLSA authorizes the establishment of different work periods for different types of employees. The general rule for regular employees applies to all covered local government employees, unless a different work period is properly established as authorized by the FLSA for public safety employees or hospital workers.
For regular employees, the maximum number of allowable hours that may be worked before overtime must be paid is 40 hours per workweek. The workweek, as defined by the FLSA, is a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours or seven consecutive 24-hour periods. The workweek need not coincide with the calendar week but may begin on any day and at any hour of the day. A single workweek may be established for all employees, or different workweeks may be established for different employees or groups of employees. Once the beginning time of an employee’s workweek is established it remains fixed, but may be changed if the change is intended to be permanent and is not designed to evade the overtime requirements of the FLSA.
The FLSA requires a single workweek as its standard and does not permit averaging of hours over two or more weeks. For example, an employee who works 30 hours one week and 50 hours the next must receive overtime pay for the hours worked beyond 40 in the second week, even though the average number of hours worked in the two weeks is 40. This is true regardless of whether the employee works on a standard or swing shift schedule and regardless of whether payment is made on a daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or other basis.