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Tennessee Overtime Laws

Tennessee Overtime Laws

No TN overtime laws exist to regulate the compensation of time worked over 40 hours that week.  Instead, federal standards determine Tennessee overtime laws and enforcement is carried out by the Labor Wage and Hour Division of the US Department of Labor.  The Fair Labor Standards Act is the primary Tennessee overtime law and this sets not only minimum wage standards but also exemptions to overtime and other important provisions.

Are Tennessee employers required to follow the Tennessee overtime law?

Although there are some exemptions, Tennessee overtime laws not only have broad enforcement for employees working over 40 hours, but also state law requires that certain posters related to employee rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act be posted in the workplace to inform employees on their rights.

TN overtime laws and minors

There are strict regulations on hours that minors will be able to work.  14 or 15 year olds especially will work no more than 18 hours in a school week and 40 hours on a non-school week.  This makes them ineligible for overtime pay under Tennessee overtime laws by default.  There are other restrictions that should be noted for the employment of minors

General exemptions to TN overtime laws

Domestic workers and others that serve on a “live-in” basis do not receive overtime pay, under Tennessee overtime law, though there will be a reasonable expectation of compensation through free lodging and other benefits.  Presumably, they are not working the 24 hours a day they spend on the premises.

Most professionals, executives and sales persons do not make overtime pay under Tennessee overtime law.  This is due to the fact that they largely set the times they work themselves.  All professionals making more than $455 a week are exempt from Tennessee overtime laws.

Certain emergency workers, particularly those on-call at all times, do not receive typical overtime pay under TN overtime laws.  There might be conditions in TN overtime laws that allow this for active service during a 40 hour work week, but time spent on-call is generally not counted in over time.

You will check your employment agreement for more information about Tennessee overtime laws and its applicability to your position.

Independent contractors and TN overtime laws

Under federal and Tennessee overtime laws, employers need not pay overtime pay to independent contractors hired on a project.  That contractor however, is obligated to pay their employees overtime pay, as long as they are not immediate relatives.  

Breaks and TN overtime laws

Employers under Tennessee overtime law are obligated to provide a 30 minute lunch break for six hours worked in a day.  This break does not count towards overtime hours worked.  All other breaks, typically shorter than 20 minutes, under which time the employee may not leave the premises will count towards the overtime determination

On-call work and Tennessee overtime law

Many occupations might have the employee work overtime and some of these hours might count for overtime under Tennessee overtime laws.  Although the general provision is that, an employee must be paid for time spent on company supervision or premises while “on call,” medical students, essential personnel and others might be subject to different rules under Tennessee overtime law.  Those that are free to do as they please while on call generally do not get paid overtime.