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e-CFR data is current as of November 30, 2020

Title 29Subtitle BChapter VSubchapter BPart 778Subpart E → §778.406


Title 29: Labor
PART 778—OVERTIME COMPENSATION
Subpart E—Exceptions From the Regular Rate Principles


§778.406   Nonovertime hours as well as overtime hours must be irregular if section 7(f) is to apply.

Any employment in which the employee's hours fluctuate only in the overtime range above the maximum workweek prescribed by the statute lacks the irregularity of hours for which the Supreme Court found the so-called “Belo” contracts appropriate and so fails to meet the requirements of section 7(f) which were designed to validate, subject to express statutory limitations, contracts of a like kind in situations of the type considered by the Court (see §778.404). Nothing in the legislative history of section 7(f) suggests any intent to suspend the normal application of the general overtime provisions of section 7(a) in situations where the weekly hours of an employee fluctuate only when overtime work in excess of the prescribed maximum weekly hours is performed. Section 7(a) was specifically designed to deal with such a situation by making such regular resort to overtime more costly to the employer and thus providing an inducement to spread the work rather than to impose additional overtime work on employees regularly employed for a workweek of the maximum statutory length. The “security of a regular weekly income” which the Supreme Court viewed as an important feature of the “Belo” wage plan militating against a holding that the contracts were invalid under the Act is, of course, already provided to employees who regularly work at least the maximum number of hours permitted without overtime pay under section 7(a). Their situation is not comparable in this respect to employees whose duties cause their weekly hours to fluctuate in such a way that some workweeks are short and others long and they cannot, without some guarantee, know in advance whether in a particular workweek they will be entitled to pay for the regular number of hours of nonovertime work contemplated by section 7(a). It is such employees whose duties necessitate “irregular hours” within the meaning of section 7(f) and whose “security of a regular weekly income” can be assured by a guarantee under that section which will serve to increase their hourly earnings in short workweeks under the statutory maximum hours. It is this benefit to the employee that the Supreme Court viewed, in effect, as a quid pro quo which could serve to balance a relaxation of the statutory requirement, applicable in other cases, that any overtime work should cost the employer 50 percent more per hour. In the enactment of section 7(f), as in the enactment of section 7(b) (1) and (2), the benefits that might inure to employees from a balancing of long workweeks against short workweeks under prescribed safeguards would seem to be the reason most likely to have influenced the legislators to provide express exemptions from the strict application of section 7(a). Consequently, where the fluctuations in an employee's hours of work resulting from his duties involve only overtime hours worked in excess of the statutory maximum hours, the hours are not “irregular” within the purport of section 7(f) and a payment plan lacking this factor does not qualify for the exemption. (See Goldberg v. Winn-Dixie Stores (S.D. Fla.), 15 WH Cases 641; Wirtz v. Midland Finance Co. (N.D. Ga.), 16 WH Cases 141; Trager v. J. E. Plastics Mfg. Co. (S.D.N.Y.), 13 WH Cases 621; McComb v. Utica Knitting Co., 164 F. 2d 670; Foremost Dairies v. Wirtz, 381 F. 2d 653 (C.A. 5).)

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