There are many misconceptions about what the law requires with regards to overtime pay. One of those misconceptions is that if you are a salaried employee, you are not entitled to overtime.
You may have heard that if you are paid on an hourly basis, the law requires your employer to pay you overtime for any hours you work above 40 hours in a workweek, regardless of the duties that you perform.
But, some salaried employees are entitled to overtime as well. In fact, all salaried employees are entitled to overtime unless their employer can show that they meet certain criteria under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which governs overtime pay requirements.
The FLSA and Overtime For Salaried Employees
The FLSA classifies employees as either exempt or nonexempt from its overtime requirements. Nonexempt employees are paid for all hours worked, typically on an hourly basis, plus overtime pay for hours that exceed 40 in a work week. Most employees are considered nonexempt and are, therefore, entitled to be paid overtime.
Any employee can be classified as nonexempt, whereas exempt employees must meet specific criteria. Generally, in order to be classified as exempt, you must receive a fixed salary each week, regardless of how many hours you work, and meet certain tests with regard to your salary and job duties, more specifically:
- You must be paid a salary that is not subject to reduction based on the quantity or quality of the work you perform;
- Your salary must be at or above $913/week or $47,476/year; and
- Your primary duties must be either:
- Executive in nature, meaning that you supervise at least 2 employees and have the ability to hire and fire employees etc.;
- Administrative in nature, with duties involving the exercise of discretion and judgment involving matters of great significance; or
- Professional in nature, meaning that your job requires the use of advanced knowledge in the field of science or learning, or talent in a recognized artistic or creative field of endeavor.
Other exemptions exist as well, but these are the most common exemptions your employer has the burden of proving.
What Does This Mean For Those On Salary?
For employees being paid a salary, this means that unless your employer can prove that you are exempt because the nature of your job fits the above criteria, you must be paid overtime.
What’s more, you can’t simply be given a fancy title and be classified as an exempt executive, administrative, or professional employee. You must actually perform these duties and be paid the qualifying amount.
If you are on salary and are unsure if you should get paid overtime, contact an experienced and knowledgeable employment law attorney for the answer to this and any other questions you may have regarding your employment.
Contact an Experienced Employment Law Attorney
If you are being classified as an exempt employee when you are, in fact, nonexempt, your employer may be exposed to severe penalties. On the other hand, you may be entitled to substantial back pay and liquidated damages. For more information, contact an experienced employment law attorney to evaluate your case.