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Does Montana have daily overtime?

Overtime pay is an important consideration for both employees and employers in Montana. Understanding the state’s overtime regulations can ensure that workers are properly compensated for any extra hours worked, while helping businesses comply with labor laws.

What are the overtime pay requirements in Montana?

Like federal overtime regulations, Montana requires overtime pay for any hours worked over 40 in a workweek for most employees. However, Montana law does not require daily overtime pay. The state follows the federal standard that bases overtime on a 40-hour workweek, not on hours worked each day.

A few key facts about overtime pay in Montana:

  • Overtime pay is required for hourly employees after 40 hours of work in a workweek.
  • Salaried employees who meet federal salary thresholds are exempt from overtime.
  • Overtime pay is 1.5 times the regular rate of pay for eligible employees.
  • There are no daily overtime requirements in Montana.

What is the difference between daily and weekly overtime?

The main difference between daily and weekly overtime lies in how the overtime hours are calculated:

  • Daily overtime – Overtime rates apply after a certain number of hours worked in a day, such as over 8 hours per day.
  • Weekly overtime – Overtime rates apply after a certain number of hours worked in a week, typically over 40 hours.

With daily overtime, employees earn overtime for long days even if they don’t exceed 40 hours in a workweek. With weekly overtime, it’s the total hours for the workweek that matter.

Daily Overtime Example

An employee works 4 hours on Monday, 10 hours on Tuesday, 6 hours on Wednesday, 8 hours on Thursday, and 4 hours on Friday. That’s 32 hours total for the week.

With daily overtime after 8 hours per day, the employee would get 2 hours of overtime pay for working 10 hours on Tuesday.

Weekly Overtime Example

An employee works 4 hours on Monday, 10 hours on Tuesday, 6 hours on Wednesday, 8 hours on Thursday, and 4 hours on Friday. That’s 32 hours total for the week.

With weekly overtime based on more than 40 hours per week, the employee does not get any overtime pay since the total weekly hours is only 32.

Why doesn’t Montana require daily overtime?

Montana does not require daily overtime for a few key reasons:

  • Following federal standards – Not requiring daily overtime conforms to federal overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which also uses a 40-hour workweek.
  • Consistency for businesses – A seven-day workweek is more straightforward for businesses to calculate overtime compared to tracking daily hours.
  • Preventing scheduling challenges – Daily overtime could disrupt shift scheduling and increase costs for businesses that need longer daily shifts.

Compliance is simpler for companies when overtime rules follow federal weekly standards. Daily overtime would impose additional costs and administrative work for businesses.

Which states require daily overtime?

Only a handful of states go beyond federal law to mandate daily overtime:

State Daily Overtime Standard
Alaska Over 8 hours per day
California Over 8 hours per day
Colorado Over 12 hours per day
Nevada Over 8 hours per day
Puerto Rico Over 8 hours per day

Some other states also require daily overtime in certain industries, such as healthcare, manufacturing, and construction.

When is daily overtime required in Montana?

The only scenario where daily overtime may apply in Montana is for employees under a collective bargaining agreement or union contract.

Union contracts can negotiate overtime provisions that go beyond basic legal requirements. This means a union could potentially bargain for daily overtime rules for their members.

Outside of collective bargaining agreements, daily overtime is not mandated by Montana employment laws.

Union Contracts and Daily Overtime

If a collective bargaining agreement includes daily overtime provisions, such as overtime pay after 8 or 10 hours per day, then those rules would apply for union employees covered under the contract.

However, this would only affect employees at companies with a union agreement stipulating daily overtime. Non-union workers would still follow federal weekly overtime laws.

FLSA overtime exemptions in Montana

While most workers in Montana are entitled to overtime pay, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides overtime exemptions for certain categories of employees, including:

  • Executive, administrative, and professional employees who meet salary thresholds
  • Outside sales employees
  • Employees of amusement and recreational establishments
  • Computer professionals paid at least $27.63 per hour

Employees who are exempt from FLSA overtime do not qualify for daily or weekly overtime under federal or Montana state law. However, an exempt employee may still be eligible for overtime pay if it is provided for in an employment contract or collective bargaining agreement.

Can an employee agree to waive overtime in Montana?

No, an employee cannot waive or forfeit their right to overtime pay in Montana. An agreement between an employer and employee to waive overtime obligations would violate state wage and hour laws.

An employee must receive proper overtime compensation for any hours worked over 40 in a workweek. An employee cannot opt-out of overtime eligibility in Montana.

Agreements Waiving Overtime Rights

Any employer’s contract or policy stating that an employee forfeits their overtime rights under Montana law would not be legally valid or enforceable. Even salaried employees cannot agree to forego overtime pay they are owed under state and federal law.

Overtime for agricultural workers in Montana

Agricultural workers have limited overtime protections in Montana due to exemptions under state law:

  • Agricultural employees are exempt from Montana’s state overtime pay requirements.
  • However, federal overtime law still applies to agricultural workers.
  • Seasonal agricultural employees are exempt from federal overtime requirements.
  • Year-round farmworkers are entitled to federal overtime pay.

In summary, seasonal farmworkers are exempt from all overtime pay in Montana. But year-round agricultural workers qualify for overtime under federal law after 40 hours per week.

Travel time and overtime in Montana

Mandatory travel for work outside of regular work hours generally counts as compensable time under Montana law. However, there are exceptions for certain types of travel time:

  • Normal commuting time to and from work is not considered hours worked.
  • Travel away from home outside of regular hours is compensable if for the employer’s benefit.
  • Overnight work travel may not count as hours worked for some employees.

In most cases, Montana employers should compensate for travel time outside normal work hours if it is job-related. Compensable travel time can contribute to overtime pay eligibility if it causes weekly hours to exceed 40.

Common Work Travel Scenarios

Here are some examples of how different types of work travel time should be handled for overtime purposes in Montana:

  • Commuting – Regular travel between home and work is not compensable time under Montana law.
  • Day travel for work – Travel during the workday between job sites must be paid as hours worked.
  • Overnight travel – Travel time outside regular hours must be paid for non-exempt employees. However, overnight travel may not count for certain exempt workers who only drive as a passenger outside of regular hours.
  • Out-of-town conferences/training – Time spent traveling and attending required work events out of town during non-work hours must be compensated according to Montana law.

Tips for managing overtime in Montana

To ensure proper overtime compliance and avoid violations, Montana employers should:

  • Review state laws and stay updated on any changes impacting overtime rules.
  • Classify employees accurately as exempt or non-exempt from overtime.
  • Do not make improper deductions from exempt employees’ salaries that could jeopardize their exempt status.
  • Implement a timekeeping system that tracks all employee hours worked, including any travel time.
  • Pay 1.5x regular rates for any overtime hours worked over 40 per week.
  • Display mandatory labor law posters informing employees of overtime rights.

Penalties for overtime violations in Montana

Failing to comply with overtime pay requirements can lead to significant penalties under Montana law:

  • Unpaid overtime wages – Employees must be paid any outstanding overtime compensation plus interest.
  • Liquidated damages – Equal to the amount of unpaid overtime wages.
  • Civil penalties – Up to $1,100 per violation.
  • Criminal fines – Violators may face fines and jail time.
  • Employee lawsuits – Workers can file a private lawsuit to recover unpaid overtime plus attorneys’ fees.

Severe and willful violations may potentially be prosecuted as criminal misdemeanors in Montana. Employers can face expensive class action lawsuits if systemic overtime violations are found.


Montana overtime regulations generally align with federal standards requiring overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. The state does not mandate daily overtime for non-union employees. Understanding state laws can help both employees and employers ensure proper overtime compensation and avoid costly wage violations.