What Is Straight Time

The term straight time refers to both an hourly employee’s standard working hours per day during a weekly or monthly payment cycle and the standard pay rate that is applicable for that period of straight-time work. Straight time doesn’t include overtime hours or absences like leave, vacation, or sick leave.

How Is Straight Time Used in Work Week Calculations?

Straight time is calculated by organizations that have hourly employees so that they can determine their wages, pay them adequately for the hours they’ve worked, and calculate overtime. Salaried employees, on the other hand, receive a fixed salary, usually in monthly payments, and their hours don’t have to be tracked for payment. 

Straight-time equals the number of hours an employee is required to work per day (e.g., 8 hours). When calculating weekly work hours, organizations take into account only the hours worked up to the straight time daily requirement. The excess hours count towards the employees’ overtime.

For example, if the employee has an 8-hour straight time requirement for a five-day work week, and the total weekly hours equal 42, two of those hours would qualify as overtime. 

Organizations can calculate straight time manually, or they can automate this process by entering employees' work hours through a time tracking or project management software. 

Why Is Straight Time Important for Overtime?

Straight time is regulated by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This act was adopted in 1938 to implement work-related regulations, including minimum wage, overtime, and basic time tracking records requirements, such as employee time tracking and timesheet compliance for all types of companies.

Straight time, as defined by this act, is a condition that needs to be met before the employee qualifies for overtime. The straight-time condition ensures that employees are not paid twice for the same overtime hours and don’t receive overtime if they haven’t met their weekly hour requirement.

With an 8-hour straight time requirement, employees won’t meet the weekly limit of 40 work hours by working 10 hours per day four days in a row. To qualify for overtime, they would have to work 8 hours every day of the week before exceeding their weekly limit.