Many workers in the United States have the right to earn overtime.

Overtime means that you have to get paid time and a half for each hour after 40 hours worked in one week.

The majority of farmworkers do not have the right to overtime, but there are exceptions to this for some agricultural work. If you work planting trees, making pine bales or processing poultry or seafood, you have the right to receive overtime. If you work in a packing shed, you may have the right to receive overtime if you pack produce from other farms. If you work in a cotton gin, overtime will begin when you have worked 48 hours in one week or 10 hours in one day.

Even if you work by piece rate, you may still be entitled to overtime.

Workers involved in other kinds of work may also be entitled to overtime. Consult with our office or another lawyer to understand your rights.


Marly was living in Florida when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast of the U.S. in August 2005. She is from Brazil and heard from friends about all the work that needed to be done to rebuild the Gulf Coast. She went to New Orleans, Louisiana and started working. She had been told that she would be making lots of money and would have many overtime hours. When Marly started working with the company, she found that the reality was different than the promises. She was never paid the extra overtime pay that she was due, even though she sometimes worked as many as 90 hours in one week! She and other workers met with a lawyer and, once she understood her rights, she decided to join a lawsuit against the company for the unpaid overtime. She knew that this was happening to many other immigrant workers and wanted to fight to defend her and other workers' rights. In the end, the company agreed to pay Marly and the other workers the overtime wages they were due plus an additional amount. She feels glad that she fought alongside her fellow workers to get the payment they deserved.

Rubia, who is from Guatemala, had a job packing herbs. The herbs that she packed were grown by the same company that owned the packing house. She was not paid overtime, which is legal, because she was packing herbs grown by the company. When Rubia's supervisors began requiring Rubia to pack herbs from different companies, they did not pay Rubia and her coworkers overtime, even though the law required them to pay overtime for packing herbs from outside companies. Rubia and many other workers got together and filed a lawsuit for the overtime pay they deserved. Rubia and three others asked the court for permission to bring this lawsuit as a class action on behalf of themselves and the other workers who were having the same problem (known as "class members"). As a result of this case, the company agreed to a settlement that included over 200 workers as class members.