Salaried Workers, Do You Get Overtime Pay? Odds Are You Should!

OvertimeJust because you're salaried doesn't mean you're automatically exempt from overtime. Most employees are entitled to be paid overtime (1.5 times your regular hourly rate) under the Fair Labor Standards Act for any hours worked over 40 per week. Some employees are exempt, but not nearly as many as most employers and employees assume.

If your employer is treating you as exempt from overtime, odds are they got it wrong. Here are some ways you might be exempt from overtime.

Specific jobs excluded: movie theater employees, live-in domestic employees, farmworkers on small farms, railroad employees (you're covered by the Railway Labor Act) and truck drivers, loaders, helpers and mechanics (covered under the Motor Carriers Act), computer professionals making at least $27.63/hour, commissioned sales employees who average at least 1.5 times minimum wage/hour, auto dealer salespeople, mechanics and parts-people, and seasonal and recreational workers. There are others who are exempt from all or part of the Fair Labor Standards Act, listed here.

Salaried employees: If you make less than $23,600 ($455/week) you're never exempt. If your employer cuts your pay if you miss part of the work day, you're not exempt. But they can deduct paid time off from your leave bank or PTO if you miss work. You can't have your salary reduced if there is no work or if work is slow. You can be docked for missed full days due to disciplinary suspension, sick days, or personal leave. But even if you're salaried, you're still not exempt from overtime unless you also have exempt job duties.

Executive duties: If you're salaried and they don't take improper deductions, then you're exempt if you supervise two or more employees, if management is your primary job, and if you have genuine input into the hiring, promotion and firing of your subordinates.

Learned professions: This exemption includes doctors, lawyers (not paralegals), dentists, teachers, architects, clergy, RNs (not LPNs), engineers, actuaries, scientists (not technicians), pharmacists, and other learned professions (usually requires an advanced degree).

Creative employees: Creative employees who are exempt include actors, musicians, composers, writers, cartoonists, and some journalists. People in this category don't necessarily have to be paid on a salary basis to be exempt.

Administrative duties: If you perform office or non-manual work that's directly related to management or the general business operations of your company or their customers, and you are regularly required to use your independent judgment and discretion about significant matters, then you might be exempt. An administrative assistant who is the CEO's right hand is probably exempt, but the secretary to a mid-level manager probably isn't.

Retaliation: The employer isn't allowed to retaliate against you for objecting to not being paid overtime or minimum wage. But that doesn't mean they won't do it. If you do object, make sure you're right, and put the objection in writing so that you have proof you objected before you were fired.

Consequences: For the employer who gets this wrong, the consequences are potentially huge since the courts will allow your lawyer to bring in the other employees who also weren't paid correctly, and make the company pay them too.

If you're regularly working over 40 hours per week, check with a lawyer to see if you're owed money. Unpaid overtime owed may also give you leverage to negotiate a better severance package if you're fired or laid off.

Next: 10 Things You Need to Know Before You Demand Your Work Break

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Maria Kowalski

I was working 6 days a week salary 6 am to 2pm then was asked if I would like to work 5 days and have two days off , of course I said yes, when I got my pay for that , they decided my payed salary by 6 and took 1 day pay off, so OK I went with that , 5 years later they forced me to work 6 days or I wouldn't have a job, their words , I went along after munch protest, when I got my pay it was increased only 50 dollars , I protested and was told to wait 2 months and I would get another fifty, my increase should have been 165 dollars from the get go, over a year goes by and I still wasn't happy so they gave me fifty more , can I get back all the money owned from the time I was forced to work 6 days ?

July 20 2015 at 4:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hi i am a super at a high rise building in new jersey my company put me on salary and told me that i am exempt
my question is should i be entitled to over time i worked 38 hours cleaning up snow at the complex were i worked on my days off and after regular working hours i am really upset that i really pitched in and helped get the complex clear of snow just to find out that all my hard back breaking work went un-noticed all the regular hourly employees that worked with me got paid but i was told that i don't get overtime is this legal ?

July 12 2015 at 9:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Marie Anderson Turne

I'm so confused!! I am a RN, working as an administrative nurse ( I teach CPR classes, make the schedules for all the nurses and STNA's) give employee vaccinations etc. I am a salaried employee. If a floor nurse calls off, whether it be night shift or day shift. I am expected to cover this call off but do not get comp time. I usually work anywhere from 50-70 hours a week. I get nothing extra because I am salary. Should I be getting over time pay??

June 29 2015 at 6:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I work in the landscape field but i work year round for my company and i am a salary employee I've been working over 40 hours every week for over a year i make 675$ a week but im working 60 - 70 hours a week should i be getting overtime?

June 26 2015 at 9:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i work for a cable company as a construction coordinator. working 45-50 hours a week at times. traveling out of town and sometimes having 12-15 hour days. what is my compensation for putting in overtime? comp time or ot pay?

March 18 2014 at 4:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was hired as an independent contractor that is paid a salary, so does the same thing pertain to me. I am constantly working overtime and I am not paid for days that the office is closed, most recently for a natural disaster. Should I be getting paid for that and overtime?

September 20 2012 at 4:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Michelle's comment

the idea of being payed salary as an independant contractor is illegal on its own basis. If a company is forcing you to work for them and is setting specifically your work hours by law and by the way taxes are supposed to be payed its illegal for you to even be an independant contractor. You can be on a contract but thats different from being independantly contractor. if you are you can resell all your work to there competitor and work for more then one company also you can legally set your own hours and work for other companies without the worry of being fired. people who are in sales like for financial companies are independant contractors. if your salaried and they set your hours get your job title fixed asap so the taxes are legal or make money the ways above because they are taking huge advantage of you.

October 23 2013 at 1:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i work in a furniture store, i am "salaried" I am expected to work 6 days a week and i have to work 48 hours during those 6 days. my salary is only $200 a week and then i have to make up the rest in commission. my slow season is from september - may, im lucky right now if i see an extra $100-200 in my paycheck for commission, so during november and december i saw alot of weeks where it was just the salary pay, which puts me way below mim wage. I dont even take time off for meals, im not sure what my rights are or what my boss can and cant do. im looking for a new job right now but how do i keep myself protected until then?

January 13 2012 at 6:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to carmi2003's comment

I have worked in several similar situations and you are not getting a ''salary''. You are getting a 'draw'' against future commissions to offset the sell cycle times. The issue in your situation, is if your sales commissions do not cover your 'draw' and you leave, you could well owe them money-----

March 03 2015 at 8:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How about this one. Salaried. do meet exempt status. told hours are m-f 7-3:30.
Office manager schedules you someone to see at 3:30. and two of the other days you are there till 5 pm
every week. So actually I work scheduled 45-50 hours every week. But on paper it looks like 40.
I don't get it. I feel like this is employee abuse. Do I speak to the powers that be or do I just move on. I have tried one about 4 months ago. Nothing came out of it. said I was salaried and that was all they would do. Please help with direction.

January 01 2012 at 11:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i work in a warehouse and am salary. should i get overtime.thx

December 06 2011 at 2:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Does this also apply to salaried employees at Indian Casinos?

November 03 2011 at 10:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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