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Salaried Employees Can Be Entitled To Overtime

"Am I entitled to overtime if I'm a salaried employee?"   I get this question a lot.  The question arises from an understandable misunderstanding of wage and hour laws, principally the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"). How your employer classifies you is irrelevant. That your employer has classified you as salaried does not mean you are not entitled to overtime.   The issue is whether your job duties entitle you to overtime under the FLSA. Everyone is entitled to overtime except those who are exempt. The FLSA, with some qualification, starts from an assumption that every employee who works more than 40 hours in a workweek is entitled to overtime.  The law then sets forth a number of exemptions.  If your job duties (not job title) fall within one of those exemptions, you are probably not entitled to overtime (I say "probably" because of one other consideration I address below).  Some exemptions include administrative employees, executives, professionals, outside salespersons, computer professionals (earning above a certain amount), movie theater employees and employees delivering newspapers.  These are only a few of the exemptions. Even if your job duties exempt you from overtime, you still may be owed for overtime. Even if you are otherwise exempt, your employer can lose the benefit of the exemption by failing to pay you a true salary.  For example, if when you are late to work or miss a few hours here or there and your employer deducts from your salary that week, the exemption may be lost.  A salary generally means you are entitled to the same amount of pay each week regardless of how much you work.  If your employer wants to pay you the same for 60 hours of work as for 40, then he must also pay you the same for 30 hours.  This is subject to some exceptions.  An employer need not pay you for any week in which you perform no work, and deductions from pay may be made when you are absent from work for one or more full days for personal reasons.  There are other exceptions as well, and outside salespersons need not be paid a salary to be exempt. So, if you think you may be entitled to overtime, the issues are 1) whether or not your job duties fall into one of the exemptions; and/or 2), whether your employer has unlawfully deducted from your pay and therefore lost the benefit of the exemption.  GSF

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