The Fair Labor Standards Act is the federal law that oversees overtime practices. The FLSA requires overtime pay at 1.5 times an employee’s regular pay rate for work hours that exceed 40 for the week. The Act, however, does not require double time, which is twice an employee’s regular rate of pay.

Federal Law

The U.S. Department of Labor, which administrates the FLSA, says double-time pay is a matter between the employer and employee or the employee’s representative -- such as a union. If your employees work extra hours on nights, weekends or holidays, you are not required under federal law to pay double time.

State Law

Check with your state labor department for its rules on overtime and double-time pay. If double time is required you must adhere to the conditions. For example, in California, double-time pay is due for all hours worked that exceed 12 in a workday and for work hours that exceed eight on the seventh straight day of the workweek. Like overtime, double time applies to nonexempt employees only -- it does not apply to employees who are exempt from the state’s overtime provisions. Exempt employees in California include executive, administrative and professional employees and outside salespersons. If applicable, contact your state department for its exempt policies to determine which of your employees are exempt from double-time pay.

Company Policy

If double time is not required by state law, and you choose to give it, include the conditions in your company policy. For example, explain that double time -- which is twice the employee’s regular pay rate -- is paid for all hours worked on company holidays, nights and weekends. You may list the company holidays that double time applies to.

Prevailing Wage Workers

Prevailing wages are defined hourly wages -- which include overtime and benefits -- that are paid to specific workers under government contracts. These wages are generally developed by the state labor department and other regulatory agencies associated with the job in question. Depending on the state, workers who are subjected to prevailing wages might qualify for double-time pay. For example, in Washington, hours worked on Sundays and holidays must be compensated at double time. Also, the initial two hours that follow eight regular hours on Monday through Friday and the initial 10 hours worked on Saturday must be compensated at the worker’s overtime rate; all other overtime hours must be paid at double time.