Some employers mistakenly classify their employees as exempt from overtime and deprive employees from these hard earned overtime wages. Sometimes they do it on purpose.
Here’s the deal: Employees that are classified “exempt” are not entitled to overtime wages. Employees’ classified “non-exempt” must be paid overtime wages for any time that exceeds 40 hours in a work week.
Just saying you are being paid a salary unstead of an hourly rate does not decide of you are exempt. There are tests. The Fair Labor Standards Act, which is the Federal law that governs fair pay, outlines 3 tests used to determine whether an employee is exempt or non-exempt under the law:
The Salary Test – The employee must be compensated on a salary basis at a rate at least $455.00 per week to be considered exempt from overtime. The employee is paid on a salary basis if he/she can count on receiving a “guaranteed minimum” amount of money for any week he/she performs work. Employees who earn less than $455 per week should be paid overtime wages.
The Duties Test – What is the actual job tasks an employee must complete? How does the job fits into the employer’s overall operations? Title is just one aspect of the Duties Test, but it is included since it is such a common misconception that the title of “manager” automatically entitles an employer to pay their employees a salary only for all of their work.
The Exemption Test – the employee does not fall under one of the exemptions for overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act. (Professional Exemption, Administrative Exemption, Outside Sales Exemption, Executive Exemption, Computer Employee Exemption, Highly Compensated Employees Exemption.)
Determining the difference between exempt and non-exempt can be confusing and often takes an experienced employment attorney to analyze the law and the employee’s specific job duties, to determine whether the employee should be compensated for overtime wages. If you are an employer and are worried about how you pay your workers, call me. If you feel that your employer may have misclassified you as exempt from overtime pay, call for the correct legal advice.