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Overtime Pay in Idaho

Just as most employees in Idaho are entitled to a minimum wage (at least $7.25 per hour), most are also entitled to overtime pay, which under federal law is "time-and-a-half" wages for each time worked beyond 40 hours each week. Overtime pay was established by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in 1938, which grants overtime pay to covered, nonexempt employees in Idaho under federal law. For example, if an Idaho employee earns $10 an hour, he or she must be paid $15 an hour for each worked hour each week beyond 40. The question is whether the employee worked more than 40 hours, not whether the employee worked at a time outside of normal working hours, such as a weekend or a holiday.

Unlike some states, Idaho has not set other triggers for overtime pay. For instance, some states apply daily overtime after the first 8 hours of work.

Coverage of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Under the FLSA, Idaho employees who are “engaged in commerce” are covered employees and are in most circumstances entitled to overtime pay. U.S. law further explains that an employee is engaged in commerce if he or she does work “involving or related to the movement of persons or things” between state lines or overseas. For instance, the following Idaho employees are considered to be engaged in commerce for purposes of the FLSA:

  • An employee in Idaho who uses a telephone, the U.S. mail, or e-mail to communicate with persons in another state.
  • An employee in Idaho who drives or flies to another state as part of his job duties.
  • An employee in Idaho who unloads goods coming from an out-of-state supplier.
  • An employee in Idaho, such as a cashier or waitress, who uses an electronic device to authorize a credit card purchase.

In reality, there are few Idaho employees who are not engaged in commerce for purposes of the FLSA. The term commerce is construed quite broadly, so most employees in Idaho are protected by the protections in the FLSA, including overtime pay.

Idaho Employee Exemptions to Overtime Pay

Not all Idaho employers who hire employees engaged in commerce must pay overtime to their employees. The FLSA exempts employers from paying overtime pay (and minimum wage) to employees employed as bona fide executive, administrative, professional, and outside sales employees. In addition, certain computer employees are exempt from overtime pay. To be exempted, an Idaho employee must usually meet certain tests concerning his or her job duties, and he or she generally cannot be paid less than $455 a week.

A recent controversy sparked in 2004 under what was known as the “FairPay” initiative under President George Bush. This legislation changed the definition of “overtime exempt employees” so that many low-level managers and supervisors were reclassified as “executives,” which resulted in millions of U.S. workers being exempt from overtime pay.

To understand what rights or duties you have as an Idaho employer or employee, it may be useful to talk with a lawyer.

Policy and History of Overtime Pay

Prior to the overtime protections in the FLSA in 1938, many Idaho and U.S. workers could be subjected to long and brutal hours without additional compensation. For example, blue-collar employees who worked in the industrial setting were often required to work up to 16 hours each day. In 1938, however, President Franklin D. Roosevelt fulfilled a campaign promise to address this and other problems faced by U.S. workers. One of the purposes of the overtime provision of the FLSA was to encourage employers to hire more individuals rather than requiring fewer employees to work more. In addition to overtime pay, the FLSA provided minimum wage to employees, and it also provided for labor safety regulations.

Let Us Help

If you are an Idaho employer who has questions regarding its requirements for overtime pay, our team of Idaho Employment and Labor Law attorneys at Racine Olson can help. Call us toll-free at 877.232.6101 or 208.232.6101 for a consultation with one of our various Idaho Employment and Labor Law attorneys. You can also send us an e-mail at We will do everything we can to solve your unique problems.

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