Agriculture is an essential part of Montana's economy. If you land a job in the industry, you'll be expected to work long hours without the benefit of overtime pay. Fortunately for many workers not involved in ranching or farming, Montana guarantees the right to overtime pay for any hours worked beyond 40 a week. However, there are numerous exceptions and exemptions that determine when this benefit is available. The following review will get you up to speed on Montana overtime law.
Montana Overtime Law Summary
This chart highlights key provisions of overtime laws in Montana.
|State and Federal Statutes|
|Montana Overtime Rules||
|Filing a Wage Complaint|
Note: State laws are subject to change. It's important to verify the information you read about by conducting your own research or consulting with a Montana attorney.
Montana Overtime Laws
Montana law requires most employees to be paid 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for any period worked over 40 hours in the employer's seven-day workweek. Even if the total hours for the week exceed 40 when vacation or sick time is included, overtime pay is not required unless an employee actually worked more than 40 hours. However, seasonal recreation workers receiving room and board must work 48 hours per week before overtime is due.
Montana recognizes many exceptions to this overtime requirement including:
Federal Overtime Rules in Montana
Some employees not covered by Montana's overtime law can still receive this benefit from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Much like the state law, the federal rule requires overtime pay at a rate of 1.5 times an employee's regular rate when a "non-exempt" employee works more than 40 hours in a workweek. Montana employers must follow both state and federal overtime rules, and apply the rule that gives the most benefits.
Not all employees are covered by federal overtime law. These employees are referred to as "exempt" employees. For an employee to be exempt from federal overtime law, their job duties must fall into a recognized category, such as an office manager, and they must be paid on a salary basis a wage not less than $455 per week (as of 2017).
Overtimes Pay for Ranch and Farm Workers
Overtime pay provisions do not apply for farm workers under Montana statute. They can be paid the state minimum wage per hour or paid a monthly salary of $635. Federal law exempts practices "by a farmer or on a farm as an incident to or in conjunction with such farming operations, including preparation for market, delivery to storage or to market or to carriers for transportation to market." When the operations are limited to commodities produced on a specific farm, all of the workers are overtime exempt, even an administrative assistant, receptionist or mechanic. However, if employees handle other farm's crops, the employee becomes overtime-eligible.
Computer Employees Overtime Exemption in Montana
When Montana enacted a new minimum wage in 2013, it created an exemption from overtime for computer related occupations. The rule applies to a computer systems analyst, programmer, software engineer, network administrator, or other skilled computer employee who earns at least $27.63 an hour. Since job titles vary widely and change quickly in the computer industry, job duties not job title determines when the exemption applies.
Owed Overtime Pay in Montana? An Attorney Can Help
Disagreements over money are not fun. Arguing with your boss about your paycheck is worse. However, state and federal laws provide many Montana employees the right to overtime pay and your employer needs to follow the rules. If you're having issues with collecting owed wages, a Montana employment law attorney can help you navigate the claim process and recover lost wages.
Contact a qualified attorney.