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Does receiving a salary make you exempt from overtime pay?

On Behalf of | Dec 17, 2021 | Employment Law |

Earning a salary is a career goal for many people. A salaried position is likely a more stable one that the company intends to retain permanently, as opposed to hourly, seasonal positions that may only last for a few months.

Salaried workers often receive benefits, ranging from employer contribution toward health care costs to paid time off. They also have the benefits that come from predictable income, including the ability to budget for known expenses months ahead of time.

Accepting a salaried position can be a great thing for your financial future, but it’s important that you understand that some companies may try to abuse a salaried job offer to take advantage of you.

Salaries don’t always exempt workers from overtime

Businesses often like to hire workers on a salary basis when they have a lot of work to do. Hourly workers have a right to overtime wages if they put in more than 40 hours in a specific workweek. Salaried workers often do not have the right to claim overtime wages unless the company specifically offers them as an incentive.

Their more generous compensation and more secure employment position effectively exempt them from overtime pay requirements. Companies can have workers put in 60 hours or even more without paying anything beyond what they usually do. To take advantage of this overtime exemption, companies have to pay their salaried workers a fair wage.

Low salaries don’t necessarily exempt a worker from overtime pay. The less a company pays you, the more likely it is that your salary doesn’t protect them from needing to pay you overtime wages. If you don’t make at least $684 per week or $35,568 each year, your salary is too low to eliminate your overtime pay rights.

What if your employer lied about your overtime rights? 

If you are a salaried worker and your employer previously, incorrectly told you that you could not claim overtime, you may have put in dozens of hours without receiving the compensation you deserve.

In fact, many of your co-workers may have suffered through similar workplace hardships. You may be in a position to file a wage claim against your employer and demand the wages previously denied to you. Learning the basics of your wage and overtime rights can help you get the pay that you deserve under federal law.