A salary doesn’t always exempt someone from overtime pay

On Behalf of | Apr 23, 2024 | Wage And Hour Claims

Overtime wages can be a boon for a financially stressed hourly worker. Receiving 150% of their average hourly pay can help them catch up on bills or cover unexpected expenses. They may eagerly offer to work any overtime shifts their employer has available.

Of course, employers are often reticent to offer overtime because the wages they must pay cost so much more. Many companies implement overtime approval policies and other rules to limit what the company pays for staffing. One of the ways that a business might avoid overtime wage obligations is by paying a worker on a salary basis. The organization may then demand a large number of hours per week, possibly well beyond 40. In some cases, those workers may find that they are actually still entitled to overtime pay.

Salaries are not always cause for overtime exemption

Companies may refer to salaried employees as exempt employees, but that isn’t always true. A salary has to meet a certain standard for a worker to be exempt from overtime pay requirements. Those in certain professions, like assistant managers at retail establishments, may receive low salaries and then face demands that they work 60 hours a week. They may still have a right to receive overtime pay.

For workers in New York, the current weekly minimum salary to be exempt from overtime is $1,124,20, which amounts to $58,458.40. However, this special rule only applies to executive and administrative employees. Other workers are subject to a lower salary threshold for exemption. Under federal rules, workers who make less than $684 per week or $35,568 per year are not exempt from overtime laws. There could be an adjustment in the works for the federal exemption rule, as it was set five years ago, but the proposed new final rule has not yet gone into effect.

Companies that have intentionally misled workers or paid them as little as possible are often reticent to address mistakes regarding overtime eligibility. Filing a wage and hour lawsuit could be the only way for a worker to obtain the overtime wages they deserve. Workers who understand New York and federal overtime wage laws can identify when an employer may have violated those rules.

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