29 CFR § 778.312 - Pay for task without regard to actual hours.
(a) Under some employment agreements employees are paid according to a job or task rate without regard to the number of hours consumed in completing the task. Such agreements take various forms but the two most usual forms are the following:
(1) It is determined (sometimes on the basis of a time study) that an employee (or group) should complete a particular task in 8 hours. Upon the completion of the task the employee is credited with 8 “hours” of work though in fact he may have worked more or less than 8 hours to complete the task. At the end of the week an employee entitled to statutory overtime compensation for work in excess of 40 hours is paid at an established hourly rate for the first 40 of the “hours” so credited and at one and one-half times such rate for the “hours” so credited in excess of 40. The number of “hours” credited to the employee bears no necessary relationship to the number of hours actually worked. It may be greater or less. “Overtime” may be payable in some cases after 20 hours of work; in others only after 50 hours or any other number of hours.
(2) A similar task is set up and 8 hours' pay at the established rate is credited for the completion of the task in 8 hours or less. If the employee fails to complete the task in 8 hours he is paid at the established rate for each of the first 8 hours he actually worked. For work in excess of 8 hours or after the task is completed (whichever occurs first) he is paid one and one-half times the established rate for each such hour worked. He is owed overtime compensation under the Act for hours worked in the workweek in excess of 40 but is paid his weekly overtime compensation at the premium rate for the hours in excess of 40 actual or “task” hours (or combination thereof) for which he received pay at the established rate. “Overtime” pay under this plan may be due after 20 hours of work, 25 or any other number up to 40.
(b) These employees are in actual fact compensated on a daily rate of pay basis. In plans of the first type, the established hourly rate never controls the compensation which any employee actually receives. Therefore, the established rate cannot be his regular rate. In plans of the second type the rate is operative only for the slower employees who exceed the time allotted to complete the task; for them it operates in a manner similar to a minimum hourly guarantee for piece workers, as discussed in § 778.111. On such days as it is operative it is a genuine rate; at other times it is not.
(c) Since the premium rates (at one and one-half times the established hourly rate) are payable under both plans for hours worked within the basic or normal workday (if one is established) and without regard to whether the hours are or are not in excess of 8 per day or 40 per week, they cannot qualify as overtime premiums under section 7(e) (5), (6), or (7) of the Act. They must therefore be included in the regular rate and no part of them may be credited against statutory overtime compensation due. Under plans of the second type, however, where the pay of an employee on a given day is actually controlled by the established hourly rate (because he fails to complete the task in the 8-hour period) and he is paid at one and one-half times the established rate for hours in excess of 8 hours actually worked, the premium rate paid on that day will qualify as an overtime premium under section 7(e)(5).