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Do I Get Overtime Pay as a Summer Employee?

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on May 25, 2011 9:49 AM

School's letting out for the summer, and malls and amusement parks will soon be packed again. If you're looking for seasonal employment, now is the time to start.

In this down economy, many would-be summer employees are asking the same question - do I get paid overtime?

The seasonal employment market is thriving, and is often perfect for those who want to make a little extra cash during busy months. Overtime pay, usually 1.5 or 2 times more than your regular hourly salary, can be a great boost to your paycheck or financial health.

Knowing your rights is important for any employee, and for seasonal employees it's important to remember that many of their rights are different than a permanent employee's rights. Seasonal employees are only employed for the months in which the business experiences an upswing, usually in the holiday or summer months. They usually are not able to qualify for unemployment or for health insurance.

However, like most hourly and contract positions, seasonal employees who work beyond a certain number of hours are usually entitled to overtime. This is not a hard and fast rule - there are many variations of wage and hour law, and employment law generally varies from state to state.

Being informed of the relevant statute in your jurisdiction is a vital component of understanding your rights, and if you will be entitled to overtime pay.

For some jurisdictions, there are summer employees who will not be entitled to overtime. These "overtime exempt" positions are usually in businesses where the business is only open for a few months out of the year, or businesses where their cash flow is concentrated in a few select months. Sometimes these restrictions are only for businesses that are considered amusement or recreation businesses.

Remember though, that all of these regulations vary from state to state. It might be advisable to ask your employer before you start working whether or not you will be receiving overtime.

Being a summer employee can be great for your bank balance. Just remember: the rules for seasonal employment can be different than what you think.

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