Will I Get 25% Extra When I Work on Sunday?

By on December 19, 2014 in Current Events, Pay & Benefits with 4 Comments

“So, if I work on Sunday, I get 25 percent extra, right?”  Working on Sunday does not automatically result in Sunday pay.  This article discusses what constitutes Sunday work, how much Sunday pay is, and conditions that may impact whether you will receive Sunday pay when assigned to work during Sunday hours.

The first issue then is what is the definition of Sunday work?  Under the regulations Sunday work is all regularly scheduled work that begins or ends on a Sunday and is part of your basic workweek.  If we look at this definition carefully we see there are several parts to it.  One requirement is that to be Sunday work it is not overtime, rather it must be part of your basic non-overtime workweek.   A second requirement is that it is regularly scheduled.  That means the work to be performed on Sunday must be added to your work schedule before the beginning of the workweek.  In contrast, if your supervisor calls you up Sunday morning and asks you to come to work, then it is irregular time and does not meet the definition of Sunday work.

A third important element to notice about this definition is that a Sunday shift can be one that occurs completely on Sunday, can start on Saturday and run into Sunday or can begin on Sunday and run into Monday.  Finally, Sunday premium pay is not paid for more than 8 hours in most instances.  In short, to meet the definition of Sunday work it must meet all of these requirements: it is a regularly scheduled shift; it is part of your basic non-overtime workweek; and it occurs on a Sunday including a shift that either begins or ends on a Sunday.

Of course the rules for Sunday premium pay are a little different for those who work on compressed and flexible work schedules.  For an employee on a compressed work schedule who is assigned to work on Sunday as part of his or her basic workweek, Sunday premium pay can be paid for the entire Sunday compressed non-overtime work day.  This means that for an employee who is on a 4/10 schedule, i.e., working four 10-hour days per week, if one of those four 10-hour days is scheduled on Sunday, then the employee is eligible for Sunday premium pay for all 10 of the non-overtime hours.  For an employee on a flexible work schedule the employee may earn Sunday premium pay for up to 8 hours of their basic work requirements when the hours of a basic tour of duty begin or end on Sunday and have been approved by management.  Employees on flexible work schedules cannot earn Sunday premium pay when they earn or use credit hours.

The next important question is: how much is Sunday premium pay?  Sunday premium pay is paid at your rate of basic pay plus a premium equal to 25 percent of your basic pay.  For example, if you are earning $10 per hour, then the pay for one hour of Sunday work would be $12.50 or your basic rate of $10 per hour plus 25 percent of that $10 which equals $2.50.

A critical element to keep in mind is that in order to qualify for payment you must actually perform work during a Sunday shift.  If you are on paid leave or excused absence, using comp time or credit hours or not working because Sunday is a holiday, then you cannot receive Sunday premium pay.  Sunday premium pay is only paid when you actually work during your regularly scheduled non-overtime Sunday shift.

Another important question is: what is the relation of Sunday pay to other forms of premium pay such as overtime, night, and holiday pay?  Basically the regulations say that Sunday premium pay is paid in addition to premium pay for holiday, overtime and night work, and is not included in your basic rate of pay when calculating the premium pay for the holiday, overtime or night work.  This means you are eligible to earn these other forms of premium pay in addition to the Sunday premium pay, but each form of premium pay will be calculated separately based on your basic rate of pay.

Two more situations that need attention.   These are time spent in travel and time spent in training on a Sunday.  When your regularly scheduled non-overtime workweek includes Sunday hours will be paid Sunday pay for the Sunday hours during which she or he is on official travel.  Unfortunately, for those who are taking training the news is not as good.  Generally, the regulations prohibit the payment of premium pay during training.  There are a few exceptions listed in the regulations and one of them may permit continued payment of Sunday premium pay.  It states that when an employee is given training during a period of duty for which she or he is already receiving premium pay, for example, for Sunday work, the employee shall continue to receive that premium pay.  Thus, if an employee is given training on a Sunday that was a regularly scheduled part of his or her non-overtime workweek, then the employee would continue to receive Sunday premium pay for the time spent in the training session.  This exception does not apply, however, when an employee is assigned to full time training at institutions of higher learning, such as a college or university.

In summary: Sunday pay is only payable for work performed on a Sunday as part of your regularly scheduled non-overtime tour of duty (typically, this means within the basic 40-hour workweek).  This includes shifts that either begin or end on a Sunday.  For each regularly scheduled tour of duty, Sunday work may not exceed 8 hours (unless the employee is working on a compressed work schedule).  Sunday pay is not paid for overtime work, either scheduled overtime or unscheduled overtime.  Sunday pay is equal to 25 percent of the employee’s hourly rate of basic pay.

Wayne Coleman is a federal pay expert available to help your agency avoid premium pay claims through on-site training. Contact him for more information.

© 2016 Wayne Coleman. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Wayne Coleman.

About the Author

Wayne Coleman’s career at various Federal agencies spanned about 32 years.  Since his retirement he has consulted on, written about, and provided training on overtime and premium pay, on the principles of FLSA coverage and exemption, and on related federal compensation issues.  He can be reached at wayneslyhouse@comcast.net.

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