Guide to Puerto Rico Overtime Laws
Employees in Puerto Rico are covered by a wide range of employment protections not offered in any U.S. states. PR overtime laws, much like other labor laws in the territory, are substantially better for employees than federal U.S. labor laws. This guide will provide an overview of Puerto Rico overtime laws, including the difference between exempt and non-exempt employees. For more information on PR overtime laws, you may want to consult a labor and employment attorney near you.
Who Must be Paid Overtime?
In order to be paid overtime wages, you must be considered a non-exempt employee. Exempt employees, according to federal and Puerto Rico overtime laws, are any employees who spend the large majority of their time at work performing executive, administrative, or professional duties. Outside salespeople are also exempt from PR overtime laws. It is a myth that all salaried employees are exempted from Puerto Rico overtime laws—even a salaried employee may receive overtime if his or her job duties do not meet the exemption requirements.
How Much Is Overtime?
According to PR overtime laws, there are two sets of rules for overtime pay. Businesses that are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (a federal law governing all employers whose products are used in interstate commerce or whose gross receipts total at least $500,000 per year) are covered by the Act's overtime rules. These Puerto Rico overtime laws require that employers pay one and one half times an employee's average hourly wage for any qualifying hours.
However, if an employer is not covered by FLSA, higher overtime rates apply according to PR overtime laws. All employees working qualifying overtime hours at a business not covered by the FLSA are entitled by Puerto Rico overtime laws to overtime compensation of two times their average hourly wage.
What Hours Qualify for Overtime Pay?
All hours that are worked in excess of 40 per week by a non-exempt employee qualify for overtime under PR overtime laws. Employers are also required to pay overtime for any hours worked by a non-exempt employee in excess of 8 per day. In order to encourage employers to give a day of rest to employees at least once per week, employees are also entitled by Puerto Rico overtime laws to overtime pay on their seventh consecutive day of work.
Common Violations of Puerto Rico Overtime Laws
If an employer tries to average two weeks of an employee's hours to avoid paying overtime (for instance, averaging a 60 hour work week and a 20 hour work week in the same pay period), this constitutes a violation of PR overtime laws and you may be able to file a complaint with the Department of Labor to receive your back wages.
It is also a violation of Puerto Rico overtime laws to give an employee “comp time” to use as time off in lieu of providing overtime wages. Talking to the Department of Labor or a labor and employment attorney may be useful if you believe your employer is violating PR overtime laws.