U.S. Supreme Court

Oil-rig employee earning over $200K is entitled to overtime because of daily rate pay, Supreme Court rules

  • Print


Image from Shutterstock.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that an oil-rig employee who typically works 84 hours per week is entitled to overtime pay, despite making more than $200,000 annually.

The Supreme Court ruled that offshore oil-rig employee Michael Hewitt isn’t an executive who is exempt from overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Hewitt isn’t a “bona fide executive” because he is paid on a daily rate, rather than a salaried basis, the Supreme Court said in a 6-3 opinion.

Fair Labor Standards Act regulations exempt highly paid executives from overtime requirements if they perform executive duties, earn at least $100,000 per year and receive at least $455 per week on a salary basis. Hewitt argued that he wasn’t paid on a salary basis but conceded that he satisfied the other prongs of the test.

The Supreme Court sided with Hewitt, ruling that he didn’t fall within the overtime exemption because his pay varied based on the number of days worked.

Justice Elena Kagan wrote the majority opinion, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor, Amy Coney Barrett and Ketanji Brown Jackson.

The case is Helix Energy Solutions Group v. Hewitt.

Hat tip to SCOTUSblog, which announced the decision when it was released. Courthouse News Service was among the publications covering the decision.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.