The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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How Work Periods Impact Overtime

Reference Number: MTAS-1200
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: May 09, 2016
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Law enforcement officers generally will have to work some hours outside the normal work schedule, most often for court appearances or to complete a call for service at the end of a shift. These events occur sporadically, and the impact can be “leveled” by using longer work periods. For example:

If an employee is on a one-week work period:

  • The employee is scheduled to work a normal 40-hour week and works each of the scheduled days.
  • The employee works two additional hours at the conclusion of a regular shift.
  • The employee has to attend court for three hours while not scheduled to work.
  • Total number of hours worked for the week and the work period: 45 hours.
  • Number of hours above the overtime threshold of 43 hours is two.
  • Two hours must be compensated at one and one-half times the normal rate of pay.

The following week:

  • The employee works the normal 40-hour shift with no additional hours worked.
  • The employee is paid for 40 hours with no overtime.

But, if an employee is on a two-week work period and works exactly the same number of hours in each of the two weeks as described above:

  • The employee is scheduled to work a normal 40-hour week and works each of the scheduled days.
  • The employee works two additional hours at the conclusion of a regular shift.
  • The employee has to attend court for three hours while not scheduled to work.

Then, the following week:

  • The employee works the normal 40-hour shift with no additional hours worked.
  • The total number of hours worked for the two-week work period is 85.
  • The overtime threshold for the two-week work period is 86 hours. The employee will be paid for 85 hours at the regular hourly rate of pay with no overtime.

The use of a longer work period can lessen the impact of extra hours worked in any given week over the course of the work period. While the savings for the scenario described above may seem small, the savings of valuable resources over the course of the year can be substantial.

Longer work periods also give the employer an opportunity to relieve the employee of duty a couple or more hours before the end of the work period, avoiding extra pay altogether. For example, if an employee works two extra hours attending court early in the work period, the employer can relieve the employee of duty two hours early on a regularly scheduled shift later in the work period.

Responsible: