Can Salaried Workers Get Overtime?

Can Salaried Workers Get Overtime?


Understanding Your Compensation Is Critical

Knowledge is power. This popular phrase is relevant in almost every aspect of life, including your compensation and benefits. After all, you work hard and deserve to be paid appropriately.

While we would all like to believe that our compensation plans align with the law ,and that we will receive the pay to which we are entitled, this is not always true. Sometimes, mistakes are made – the laws governing salaries and overtime are complex and your employer may have inadvertently misclassified your position. However, other times employers are simply looking out for themselves and by not paying you overtime they are saving their company money. It is important that you understand your compensation package, including whether or not you are entitled to overtime pay, and that you check your paycheck regularly to make sure that it is correct.

Do Salaried Workers Get Overtime?

The answer to this often asked question is not clean cut – in fact, the most accurate response is “sometimes”. Under the Department of Labor, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) “establishes employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments.”

The way in which workers are classified, based on this act, determines their eligibility for overtime.

Knowing whether you are exempt or non-exempt, and if the assignment is correct for your particular position, is the first step in confirming that you are being paid correctly.

Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Workers: What Does This Mean?

It’s fairly common knowledge for anyone who has ever worked a job that overtime pay is lucrative; many workers salivate over the “time-and-a-half” pay they receive whenever they work over 40 hours in a week. You probably also know that not all workers are entitled to overtime compensation. Hearing business owners and executives complain about working 60, 70, or even 80 hours a week doesn’t mean they are getting paid for every single hour worked.

Employees, when hired, are determined to be either exempt or non-exempt. Recognizing which category under which you fall is key to better understanding the compensation to which you are entitled.

Salaried employees who are identified as “exempt” from overtime requirements, as laid out by the FLSA, are not eligible for overtime wages. However, not just any worker can be classified as an exempt employee. In fact, there are several requirements which must be satisfied before the employer is off the hook for overtime pay:

  • Earnings: In order for a worker to be classified as exempt, he or she must receive $35,568 or more in yearly earnings ($684 per workweek). These amounts were recently increased by the Department of Labor.
  • Job Description: The worker must have job duties that can be described as an executive, administrative, professional, computer-related, or engaging in outside sales.
  • Payroll Method: The worker must be paid on a salary basis (regularly, receiving a predetermined amount of compensation).

On the other hand, employees who are classified as non-exempt workers have factors that distinguish them from exempt employees. They include:

  • Schedules: Non-exempt employees often (but not always) have a schedule that fluctuates from wedk to week. Both days worked and hours each day may not be consistent.
  • Job Descriptions: Non-exempt employees perform tasks that are not considered managerial or professional. For example, blue-collar workers and other workers who perform manual labor are rarely exempt from FLSA regulations and, therefore, are eligible for overtime pay.

When you are hired you should confirm how your position is categorized so you have correct expectations of how you will be paid.

Employers Incorrectly Classify Employees

Employers occasionally skirt the rules. Sometimes, they put deceptive job titles on certain positions to make them appear like they should be considered exempt when, in reality, the job’s duties qualify the worker for being non-exempt (and, therefore, eligible for overtime). Obviously, the reason why is clear, paying overtime increases a company’s expenses.

In other situations, classifying jobs can be confusing. A primary example of this is sales jobs. The FSLA provides guidance.

Outside salespeople are generally classified as exempt, while inside salespeople are non-exempt (and overtime-eligible.)

In order to for the employer to claim the exemption for an outside salesperson the following two criteria must be met:

  • Role and Responsibility: The employee’s main job must be making sales or contracting for goods or services.
  • Job Location: The employee must regularly be away from the office (home office or company office) while “at work”.

On the other hand, inside salespeople are those who work within an office and solicit sales by mail, telephone, or internet. In general, they are considered non-exempt and would be paid for the hours they put in over 40 per work week. There are instances, however, where this type of employee would be considered exempt. These include when the employee:

  • Works for a service or retail business
  • Earns at least one and one half times minimum wage
  • Has earnings that are at least 50% from commissions in a certain time period (between one month and one year).

Do Salaried Workers Get Overtime in Florida?

Understanding Florida Overtime Laws

Employers in the state of Florida must abide by the rules established by the FLSA. This means that they must earn at least minimum wage for hours up to 40 per week, and time one half for hours in excess of that in a single time period.

Additionally, salaried employees can earn overtime based on how they are classified as explained above, not by their job title.

Is Your Paycheck Correct?

It is wise to review both your employment letter or contract as well as your paycheck to ensure that you are being paid appropriately.

Another clue that you might be missing out on overtime pay is the absence of any overtime policy in your company. It should be noted that just because employers label a job as being FLSA-exempt does not mean it truly is. Numerous factors, some of which were not covered in this blog, must be considered when making that determination.

Contact an Employment Lawyer for Help

Because of the complexities of overtime law, as well as the financial benefits of not paying overtime wages, questions and concerns regarding overtime eligibility are common, as are misclassified employees. In Florida and across the country workers are not receiving the compensation to which they are entitled by law. Experienced employment lawyers are well-versed in this area. They understand both Federal and state regulations.

If you even suspect that your employer is shorting you on wages, you should speak with an experienced and knowledgeable employment attorney. If you should be earning overtime, and have not been paid correctly, according to the Department of Labor you “may file a private suit for back pay and an equal amount as liquidated damages, plus attorney’s fees and court costs.” The statute of limitations for back pay is two years, unless the misclassification was purposeful, in which case you can recover your back wages within three years.

Feldman Legal Group is committed to obtaining justice for workers. We understand the nuances of the FLSA including the perceived loopholes that some employers attempt exploit to inappropriately leverage their financial position. We can help determine if you have, in fact, been mispaid and, if that is the case, assist you in recovering your lost wages. Contact our team by phone at 877-946-8293 to share your situation and discuss your options.