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Timeliness of paying OT hours

HI – how soon should EE's be paid overtime when submitted late? We pay all EE's their regular base salary semi-monthly on the 15th and last day of the month. Those who are eligible are paid their OT hours on the 7th and the 22nd of the month for the prior period. We receive corrected time reports from managers with OT hours sometimes as much as 2 weeks after the time was worked those hours are paid on the next OT run (7th or 22nd). I've researched the DOL's website as well as FL, PA & TX (the states with the most offenders) they all say the same "as soon as practical". What is the definition of "as soon as practical"? Should we be paying the EE"s on the next payroll run? Thank you for any help you can give me.


  • Just my opinion, but the employer is supposed to know when employees work. State wage and hour laws specify how soon an employee must be paid for work performed after performing the services. "As soon as practical" is a loaded phrase. It is a matter of facts and circumstances rather than a specific time period. Apparently, two weeks after the time the employee's worked is considered is considered "late" in your organization, so it must be "practical" to submit the reports within a shorter time period - i.e. in time to process the information and run the OT payroll on the appropriate date for the pay period.

    That is, if the current established time period is practical for most managers, but certain managers are consistently late, then it might be a good idea, from a control standpoint, to find out why it is impractical for those managers to submit the reports in the time specified. If there is nothing that makes it impractical to submit the reports on time, then you may have a compliance issue.

    It is also possible that, on occasion, it is impractical to meet the time frame. I expect that some managers in FL and TX may have good reason for being late with the OT adjustments following the recent weather emergencies in those states. The "As soon as practical" allows for a longer time period than normal when the facts and circumstances are other than normal.

  • A long time ago (say the 1960s), it was very common and legal to pay "current" where you guessed at base pay and made your corrections, including the overtime, the following pay period. Most states still have laws/regulations supporting this. So basically assume that you must pay overtime no worse then the following pay period, but legally "as soon as practically possible.

    I have done 42 state payroll before and we had no problem paying the correct amount (including overtime) in the correct pay period. I would ask myself if the problem is the payroll is mechanically complicated or rather I have supervisors/managers not doing THEIR job.

  • agree with DAW.. Your first step is to figure out the issue that is causing this. Payroll or supervisors/employees? This is just one reason why I love biweekly payrolls for non-exempts with OT issues. (sorry David Ü) I know a robust payroll system can handle it, but ours is not so we keep to a standard biweekly system.

  • The problem with half stepping around problems and not actually fixing them is that you do not know what more problems you have that you have not identified because they are hiding behind the overtime problems. I am not saying that there should never be a payroll error, but there should never be a payroll whose cause is not entirely understood. And for which some action is being taken to prevent reoccurrence.

    I worked at a manufacturing company in the 1980s where we had serious time accounting problems. Not just in/out but what the 1,000+ hourly employees were doing while they were there. I kept getting "fix this" memos from the President, I kept talking to Manufacturing, and Manufacturing kept telling me " F*Y ... we have real work do back here ... what you are asking is not possible". Sometimes in writing. President finally called me to his office to yell at me. Which he did. I gave him my log of contacts for this, plus the written responses I got. The President's face got ever redder. He called the HR Manager in and asked which supervisor was the worst at their job. HR gave this usual non-answer answer. President told him to pick a supervisor at random then. HR guy said we can't do that. President turned redder and told the HR guy that either the HR guy fired one of the supervisors TODAY or he should clean out his desk. HR guy finally figured out the President was maybe 10 seconds from having security throw him out the building. A supervisor was indeed picked at random and fired for failing to do his job. President issue a memo saying we were going to fire one manufacturing supervisor each week until the problem was fixed.

    By next week, the problem was fixed.

    Identify the problem and fix the problem. Firing one supervisor has the same effect as firing a dozen serfs (or more).
    Firing is not your first action, but it is always the last action.

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