The regular rate for pieceworkers is computed by taking the total earnings from the piece rate work and dividing that figure by the hours worked. The resultant amount is the regular rate and represents straight-time pay for each hour worked. Since straight time is already figured into the piece rate earnings, including any overtime hours, each overtime hour would need to have additional compensation at half of the regular rate in order to bring the employee up to time and a half.
29 C.F.R. 778.111 explains the method for determining a pieceworker's regular rate and gives examples of how to use this computation method. The regulation also makes clear that if a pieceworker is given a bonus or some other form of compensation for work, such as waiting time pay, the additional compensation must be added to the piece rate earnings before dividing that total by the number of hours worked to arrive at the regular rate. In case a pieceworker is given a guarantee of minimum hourly pay, the employee is really being paid on an hourly basis in workweeks in which the piece rate earnings fail to equal the minimum guarantee. In that case, the regular rate would be computed on the basis of the hourly rate, plus any additional compensation such as bonuses.
As with any other pay method, the piece rate method may in no case result in less than minimum wage for all hours actually worked, plus time and a half for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek.
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