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When are salaried employees entitled to overtime pay?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides many protections to workers – including the right to earn at least minimum wage and for most non-exempt workers, to earn overtime compensation for all hours worked in excess of 40 in any work week. However, many people have the misconception that if you are a salaried employee, that you are not entitled to overtime pay under the FLSA. However, this is not the case. Whether your employer must pay you overtime compensation depends on whether you are considered “exempt” vs. “non-exempt."

While a few general professional exemptions exist, determining whether you are entitled to overtime pay in your particular role depends more on the actual duties you perform, rather than your job title.

The first step is assessing whether you make more than $455/week. In order to be exempt, you must make more than this amount. However, the evaluation doesn’t stop there. Assuming you make at least $455 per week, the next question is to determine whether you are exempt or not. If you are exempt, you will not be able to claim overtime compensation, regardless of the number of hours you work. Your status as exempt depends on the duties you perform – not whether you are salaried or not. The main exemptions include

• The executive exemption

• The administrative exemption.

• The professional exemption.

• The computer employee exemption.

• The outside sales exemption.

• The highly compensated employee exemption.

Each of these exemptions has specific requirements. To claim the administrative exemption, your work must be “non-manual” work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers. Further, the employee must be able to use their independent judgement and exercise discretion. Simply following orders from a boss is generally not enough.

The executive exemption, on the other hand, applies to those who have the “primary duty of managing the employer’s company or enterprise" or managing a “customarily recognized department or subdivision” of the company or enterprise; who oversee at least two other employees and have the authority to hire or fire (or who’s recommendations are given weight in important employment decisions.

Each exemption applies to a certain set of duties, rather than a job title per se.

The FLSA is a complex law, and for many employees, how they are classified and whether they are entitled to overtime pay must be evaluation on a case by case basis.

For more information, or if you have any wage and hour questions, please contact the experienced Atlanta wage and hour lawyers at Buckley Beal, LLP for an immediate consultation.

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