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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Overtime compensation laws (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Overtime compensation laws
Benjamin J. Kepner
Film Handler

Posts: 15
From: Muskegon, MI, USA
Registered: May 2002

 - posted 11-28-2003 11:29 AM      Profile for Benjamin J. Kepner   Email Benjamin J. Kepner   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I just spent about an hour doing a search of the site trying to find an answer to this and I couldn't find anything that satisfied me.

Is there a federal law that exempts movie theaters from paying their employees overtime compensation? If so, does this law supercede state laws that apply to overtime? (I know minimum wage laws are whichever is higher)

Can anyone point me to a site or law that states this, I am just not willing to accept the explanation anymore that "it is just the way the movie industry is".

I know that Michigan state law exempts entertainment and amusement establishments from paying overtime if they meet all the follow guidelines:

1. Open to the general public at a fixed location
2. It is open primarily to provide leisure activities to those that attend
3. It is open no more than 7 months out of the calendar year

Now it is number three that really makes me wonder. The only theaters (at least in Michigan) that should then be exempt for paying overtime then would be seasonal theaters such as drive-ins.

Can anyone provide me with anything that would show otherwise?

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Thomas Procyk
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1842
From: Royal Palm Beach, FL, USA
Registered: Feb 2002

 - posted 11-28-2003 11:49 AM      Profile for Thomas Procyk   Email Thomas Procyk   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I read an article in the local paper a while back where a parent wrote in asking if her daughter should be paid overtime since they were working her 45+ hours a week at the movie theater.

The columnist (in the business section) replied that places such as Disneyworld and other "attraction" venues ARE exempt, but movie theaters are not. At least, that's what the state law says.

All the corporate and manager types like to think of their theaters as "a snack bar that happens to show movies" then so be it, and pay me overtime. If not, then make up your mind.

Regal paid me overtime, but Carmike did not, so I made it VERY clear that I refused to work overtime if I wasn't going to be compensated for it. It worked out for the most part, but I ended up having to leave a few shifts early at the end of the week.

Sorry folks, this is time out of my life that I'm giving up to make you money. If you don't want to pay me extra for staying extra, then I won't...


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Kyle Watkins
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 185
From: Stuart, FL, USA
Registered: Sep 2001

 - posted 11-28-2003 01:52 PM      Profile for Kyle Watkins   Email Kyle Watkins   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 

Florida is exement form paying overtime, i went thew countless phone calls with the labor board on this matter. Now this was 1999 and 2000, wether the law change since then I dont know.


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Matt Zeiner
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 146
From: Windsor, CT USA
Registered: Sep 2003

 - posted 11-28-2003 03:33 PM      Profile for Matt Zeiner   Email Matt Zeiner   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Check out the FLSA - there is a federal exemption from overtime obligations specific to movie theatres. That, not your state's statutes, is the ultimate authority. (

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Dennis M Dow Jr
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 141
From: Bloomfield NJ USA
Registered: Oct 2003

 - posted 11-28-2003 03:49 PM      Profile for Dennis M Dow Jr   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
My company pays us OT even tho our contract does not require it... guess they figure easier to pay than to fight

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Adam Martin
I'm not even gonna point out the irony.

Posts: 3671
From: Dallas, TX
Registered: Nov 2000

 - posted 11-28-2003 04:18 PM      Profile for Adam Martin   Author's Homepage   Email Adam Martin       Edit/Delete Post 
As I understand it, in California, over 40 hours in a week is overtime PLUS over 8 hours in a shift is overtime PLUS if you work then leave and then come back the second shift is overtime.

Unless, of course, you're salary. Then you're screwed sideways.

(Moving to Ground Level)

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Steve Kraus
Film God

Posts: 4067
From: Chicago, IL, USA
Registered: May 2000

 - posted 11-28-2003 07:01 PM      Profile for Steve Kraus     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
so I made it VERY clear that I refused to work overtime if I wasn't going to be compensated for it.

Were you on salary? If you were an hourly employee by law you must be compensated. The question at hand is whether you would get paid at 1.5X your normal rate. But even if they don't pay overtime they still have to pay your normal rate if you are an hourly employee.

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 12294
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999

 - posted 11-28-2003 07:43 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
In the case of employee rules...I can think of no case when the most restrictive rules dont apply. In the DC metro area...DC as always been a over 40 hours must be paid at 1.5X pay...even though the neighboring jurisdictions did not have that clause. DC isn't even a state and that rule must be followed.


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Kris Brunton
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 108
From: Napanee, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Apr 2000

 - posted 11-28-2003 08:02 PM      Profile for Kris Brunton   Email Kris Brunton   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I beleive in Ontario overtime must be paid out at 1.5x for those exceeding 44 hours in a week. Then you have salary employees and 60 hours in a week is not unheard of. [Confused]

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Philip Wittlief
Film Handler

Posts: 57
From: Chicago, IL
Registered: May 2003

 - posted 11-28-2003 08:25 PM      Profile for Philip Wittlief   Author's Homepage   Email Philip Wittlief   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I know in the Indiana state code 'motion picture theater' is exempt from the overtime law.

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Darryl Spicer
Film God

Posts: 3250
From: Lexington, KY, USA
Registered: Dec 2000

 - posted 11-28-2003 08:27 PM      Profile for Darryl Spicer     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
State law for kentucky is you must be paid overtime if you work over 40 hours. Movie theaters are not exempt.

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Martin Brooks
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 820
From: Forest Hills, NY, USA
Registered: May 2002

 - posted 11-28-2003 09:06 PM      Profile for Martin Brooks   Author's Homepage   Email Martin Brooks   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
State law does not trump Federal labor law, except if the State pays higher. However, there is a Federal exemption for Motion Picture Theater employees from overtime pay.

The general labor law rules are here: General Info on the Fair Labor Standards Act
Q&A here: Q&A
The list of exemptions is here: FLSA Exemptions

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Steve Kraus
Film God

Posts: 4067
From: Chicago, IL, USA
Registered: May 2000

 - posted 11-29-2003 12:26 AM      Profile for Steve Kraus     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Sounds like a question for a lawyer because there is nothing in there that says that a state cannot have greater requirements than the Feds. Indeed, it specifically says they can for minimum wage so wouldn't the same theory apply to the OT rules, that is, if the state says everyone must get it even if the feds don't require it, then they must be paid, no? Note that the list of exemptions is a list of exemptions from the FLSA (federal law), variously for minimum wage and/or overtime. It doesn't say anything about short circuiting state laws.

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Rachel Craven
Madam Moderator

Posts: 2190
From: Pensacola, FL
Registered: Dec 2000

 - posted 11-29-2003 02:15 AM      Profile for Rachel Craven   Email Rachel Craven   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I made many phone calls on this subject with the labor board back in Massachusetts. Movie Theaters are exempt from paying overtime. They also have different hours that young employees (14-17) can work compared to 'normal' jobs because of theaters odd hours. That was a couple years ago, and no - I don't remember the exact hours. [Smile]

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Jason Black
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1723
From: Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
Registered: Nov 2000

 - posted 11-29-2003 08:23 AM      Profile for Jason Black   Author's Homepage   Email Jason Black   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
SC is a 'no overtime pay' state also. No overtime pay meaning no 1.5x pay rate after 40 hours. I was under the impression that NC was also, but a few years ago (3-4) parents of a UA employee in Wilmington, NC sued the company after their kid did not receive OT pay. They won the judgement and OT pay was retroactive for him for the time that he had worked OT. I'm not sure what happened with anyone else whom had worked OT with UA in NC. I have employees who hit around 40 a week and I have exchange students who ask for 65/week. While I can hear soem of you screaming at how unfair that may be, it is their choice to work such as they pay to come here and seemingly are quite happy to work at the theatre for me, or at least they "act" that way.. [Cool]

I'm almost 100% sure that if we were required to pay OT there would not be a soul who would get more than 39 hours. You know, like Wal-Mart. Keep the hours down and skirt bennies... [Eek!]

To clarify what TMP commented about Carmike... he received pregular hourly wages for OT hours worked, he just didn't recieve an accelerated wage. Soem like it, some don't but we all know that most of us aren't in the exhibition end of the business for the money now, are we? [uhoh]

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