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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of May 28, 2020

Title 29Subtitle BChapter VSubchapter APart 548Subpart B → §548.305


Title 29: Labor
PART 548—AUTHORIZATION OF ESTABLISHED BASIC RATES FOR COMPUTING OVERTIME PAY
Subpart B—Interpretations


§548.305   Excluding certain additions to wages.

(a) See §548.3(e) for authorized established basic rates.

(b) Section 548.3(e) permits the employer, upon agreement or understanding with the employee, to omit from the computation of overtime certain incidental payments which have a trivial effect on the overtime compensation due. Examples of payments which may be excluded are: modest housing, bonuses or prizes of various sorts, tuition paid by the employer for the employee's attendance at a school, and cash payments or merchandise awards for soliciting or obtaining new business. It may also include such things as payment by the employer of the employee's social security tax.

(c) The exclusion of one or more additional payments under §548.3(e) must not affect the overtime compensation of the employee by more than 40 percent of the applicable hourly minimum wage under either section 6(a) of the Act or the state or local law applicable in the jurisdiction in which the employee is employed, whichever is higher, per week on the average for the overtime weeks.

(1) Example. An employee, who normally would come within the 40-hour provision of section 7(a) of the Act, is paid a cost-of-living bonus of $1300 each calendar quarter, or $100 per week. The employee works overtime in only 2 weeks in the 13-week period, and in each of these overtime weeks he works 50 hours. He is therefore entitled to $10 as overtime compensation on the bonus for each week in which overtime was worked (i.e., $100 bonus divided by 50 hours equals $2 an hour; 10 overtime hours, times one-half, times $2 an hour, equals $10 per week). Forty percent of the minimum wage of $7.25 is $2.90 (this example assumes the employee works in a state or locality that does not have a minimum wage that is higher than the minimum wage under the FLSA). Since the overtime on the bonus is more than $2.90 on the average for the 2 overtime weeks, this cost-of-living bonus would be included in the overtime computation under §548.3(e).

(2) [Reserved]

(d) It is not always necessary to make elaborate computations to determine whether the effect of the exclusion of a bonus or other incidental payment on the employee's total compensation will exceed 40 percent of the applicable hourly minimum wage under either section 6(a) of the Act or the state or local law applicable in the jurisdiction in which the employee is employed, whichever is higher, per week on the average. Frequently the addition to regular wages is so small or the number of overtime hours is so limited that under any conceivable circumstances exclusion of the additional payments from the rate used to compute the employee's overtime compensation would not affect the employee's total earnings by more than 40 percent of the applicable hourly minimum wage under either section 6(a) of the Act or the state or local law applicable in the jurisdiction in which the employee is employed, whichever is higher, per week. The determination that this is so may be made by inspection of the payroll records or knowledge of the normal working hours.

(1) Example. An employer has a policy of giving employees who have a perfect attendance record during a 4-week period a bonus of $50. The employee never works more than 50 hours a week. Exclusion of this attendance bonus from the rate of pay used to compute overtime compensation could not affect the employee's total earnings by more than $2.90 per week (i.e., 40 percent of the minimum wage of $7.25, assuming the employee works in a state or locality that does not have a minimum wage that is higher than the minimum wage under the FLSA).14

14For a 50-hour week, an employee's bonus would have to exceed $29 a week to affect his overtime compensation by more than $2.90 (i.e., 40 percent of the minimum wage of $7.25). ($30 ÷ 50 hours worked × 10 overtime hours × 0.5).

(2) [Reserved]

(e) There are many situations in which the employer and employee cannot predict with any degree of certainty the amount of bonus to be paid at the end of the bonus period. They may not be able to anticipate with any degree of certainty the number of hours an employee might work each week during the bonus period. In such situations, the employer and employee may agree prior to the performance of the work that a bonus will be disregarded in the computation of overtime pay if the employee's total earnings are not affected by more than 40 percent of the applicable hourly minimum wage under either section 6(a) of the Act or the state or local law applicable in the jurisdiction in which the employee is employed, whichever is higher, per week on the average for all overtime weeks during the bonus period. If it turns out at the end of the bonus period that the effect on the employee's total compensation would exceed 40 percent of the applicable minimum wage under either section 6(a) of the Act or the state or local law applicable in the jurisdiction in which the employee is employed, whichever is higher, per week on the average, then additional overtime compensation must be paid on the bonus. (See §778.209 of this chapter, for an explanation of how to compute overtime on the bonus).

(f) In order to determine whether the exclusion of a bonus or other incidental payment would affect the total compensation of the employee by not more than 40 percent of the applicable hourly minimum wage under either section 6(a) of the Act or the state or local law applicable in the jurisdiction in which the employee is employed, whichever is higher, per week on the average, a comparison is made between his total compensation computed under the employment agreement and his total compensation computed in accordance with the applicable overtime provisions of the Act.

(1) Example. An employee, who normally would come within the 40-hour provision of section 7(a) of the Act, is paid at piece rates and at one and one-half times the applicable piece rates for work performed during hours in excess of 40 in the workweek. The employee is also paid a bonus, which when apportioned over the bonus period, amounts to $10 a week. He never works more than 50 hours a week. The piece rates could be established as basic rates under the employment agreement and no additional overtime compensation paid on the bonus. The employee's total compensation computed in accordance with the applicable overtime provision of the Act, section 7(g)(1)15 would be affected by not more than $1 in any week by not paying overtime compensation on the bonus.16

15Section 7(g)(1) of the Act provides that overtime compensation may be paid at one and one-half times the applicable piece rate but extra overtime compensation must be properly computed and paid on additional pay required to be included in computing the regular rate.

16Bonus of $10 divided by fifty hours equals 20 cents an hour. Half of this hourly rate multiplied by ten overtime hours equals $1.

(2) [Reserved]

(g) Section 548.3(e) is not applicable to employees employed at subminimum wage rates under learner certificates, or special certificates for handicapped workers, or in the case of employees in Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands employed at special minimum rates authorized by wage orders issued pursuant to the Act.

[31 FR 6769, May 6, 1966, as amended at 84 FR 68769, Dec. 16, 2019]

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