29 CFR § 778.326 - Reduction of regular overtime workweek without reduction of take-home pay.
The reasoning applied in the foregoing sections does not, of course, apply to a situation in which the former earnings at both straight time and overtime are paid to the employee for the reduced workweek. Suppose an employee was hired at an hourly rate of $5 an hour and regularly worked 50 hours, earning $275 as his total straight time and overtime compensation, and the parties now agree to reduce the workweek to 45 hours without any reduction in take-home pay. The parties in such a situation may agree to an increase in the hourly rate from $5 per hour to $6 so that for a workweek of 45 hours (the reduced schedule) the employee's straight time and overtime earnings will be $285. The parties cannot, however, agree that the employee is to receive exactly $285 as total compensation (including overtime pay) for a workweek varying, for example, up to 50 hours, unless he does so pursuant to contracts specifically permitted in section 7(f) of the Act, as discussed in §§ 778.402 through 778.414. An employer cannot otherwise discharge his statutory obligation to pay overtime compensation to an employee who does not work the same fixed hours each week by paying a fixed amount purporting to cover both straight time and overtime compensation for an “agreed” number of hours. To permit such a practice without proper statutory safeguards would result in sanctioning the circumvention of the provisions of the Act which require that an employee who works more than 40 hours in any workweek be compensated, in accordance with express congressional intent, at a rate not less than one and one-half times his regular rate of pay for the burden of working long hours. In arrangements of this type, no additional financial pressure would fall upon the employer and no additional compensation would be due to the employee under such a plan until the workweek exceeded 50 hours.