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Are workers paid on salary entitled to overtime?

Although employers are generally required to pay hourly employees for any overtime hours that they work, this is not always the case for employees who are paid a salary and typically don't have to punch a time clock. In fact, the Fair Labor Standards Act, or the FLSA, actually exempts some job positions and specifically states that when it comes to certain salaried jobs, overtime is not required pay.

As an example, employees who work on an administrative or executive level are considered exempt, as are some skilled computer professionals along with professional and outside sales employees. Even some learned and creative professionals are considered exempt.

While the definition of what makes an employee exempt or non-exempt can, at times, seem very broad, there are some criteria that can help an employee know whether or not they should be entitled to overtime. In most cases, an exempt employee will be paid at least $455 a week, or at least $23,600 a year. They will perform job duties that are considered exempt, such as hiring or firing employees, managing employees, or supervising two or more employees. FindLaw states that one good rule of thumb is that an employee is considered exempt from overtime if looked upon as being in charge or considered by other employees as the boss.

It is important to realize, however, that even though you may be listed as a salaried employee, you may still not meet the requirements that would make you exempt. An example – your paid salary may not be enough to meet the minimum amount, or you may not have a high enough job duty to meet the Fair Labor Standards Act that would make you exempt. If you believe that you are entitled to overtime pay, you may find it beneficial to learn more about your legal rights as they pertain to your particular situation.

Source: FindLaw, "Exempt Employees vs. Nonexempt Employees," accessed May. 26, 2015

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