Medical transcriptionists are often paid based on their output. In most cases, compensation is based on how many lines a person can transcribe, which is multiplied by their fee per line. Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Of course, first that assumes you understand how a line is defined. We have had that discussion here many times, so we will not address it again right now.
One question that is often asked is when someone is paid for production, what about overtime pay? First, let’s make it very clear that overtime is only something that is given to those who work as employees of a company. Does not apply if you are an independent contractor. If you are classified, as some MTs have been, as a “statutory employee,” then it does apply to you. In the past, there has been a misunderstanding that overtime laws do not apply to the category of statutory employees; This is incorrect.
So how does it work? If you are a paid employee in production, are you eligible for overtime pay? Along the same lines, what other things could apply to compensation?
First of all, these issues are determined by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Requires a “nonexempt” employee to receive at least minimum wage AND be entitled to overtime pay for all hours worked over 40 in a week. It would seem like a simple thing, right?
You may be wondering why I also include the minimum wage in this discussion. When someone is just starting out in this profession, it is not uncommon for them to be slower than they will eventually be. If you get paid for production, that significantly lowers your income. However, at no time should your salary be less than the federal minimum wage of $ 7.25 per hour. That means the days of new hires being told to just “work until you get your line quota” are over. That doesn’t work without being sure you paid at least minimum wage and without paying if the person works more than 40 hours in a workweek. Yes, that means you must keep a timesheet for yourself and your employer. It serves as a verification of the hours worked. Also remember that the laws in your state may have a higher minimum wage. If that’s the case, that’s the rate that should be used as the standard. For example, the Oregon minimum wage is $ 8.40, so if you live in Oregon, that’s the figure you use. This applies based on where the employee lives and works, not where the employer is located.
Now let’s talk about overtime. You have all been there. The workload suddenly increases and everyone is being asked to do a little more to meet deadlines for the client. In that case, if you are an employee, you are entitled to be paid overtime pay at one and a half times your normal hourly rate.
I just heard you say, “hourly rate? I get paid for production!” Yes, and it still has an hourly rate. The way to arrive at your hourly rate is to take your total lines, multiplied by your pay rate, and divide that by the total hours worked. That will give you your average hourly rate. With that rate, you can calculate what you are owed for overtime pay. Let’s do an example for that:
Total lines for the week: 8,500
Pay line fee: $ 0.08 per line
Total payment (lines per rate): $ 680.00
Total hours worked: 50 (has 10 overtime hours)
Your Average Hourly Rate: $ 13.60
Remember that while overtime is paid at one and a half times the hourly rate, your previous production pay has already paid you by the hour, so what you are missing is “half” of the overtime pay. . So for every hour of overtime pay, you would get an additional $ 6.80, for a total of $ 68.00 ($ 6.80 multiplied by the 10 hours of overtime).
Your total payment: $ 748.00
The law also says that it is not okay to “average” two weeks of hours, nor is it okay to use “comp time or comp time” instead of paying overtime. It also specifically says that an agreement between the employer and the employee does not deny the employee’s right to overtime pay. Many times, an employer will say that overtime is not allowed unless previously approved. Even that does not negate the law. I heard MTs talk about being the only person working a night shift where a stat report came in and had to be done, throwing that person into an overtime situation. What’s okay is for your employer to ask you to take that extra time off on another day, as long as it’s the same week. If it happened to be the last day of your workweek, overtime will apply.
While it is easy to say that employers are responsible here, I believe that medical transcriptionists have a responsibility to know and understand what their rights are. When interviewing for a position as an employee, this is definitely a topic to cover! It’s part of fully understanding how you are compensated.