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What You Should Know

Am I Entitled to Overtime Pay? Know Your Rights!

One of the biggest sources of conflict between employees are employers is overtime pay. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, every employee who is not exempt from overtime is entitled to time-and-a-half pay for all hours worked over 40 in a week.

Knowing whether you qualify as an exempt employee is critical to understanding your rights when it comes to overtime.

Exempt employees must meet certain criteria, including:

  1. Salary – exempt employees must be paid on a salary basis (meaning a set amount per week, not based on hours actually worked) and make at least $455/week in salary. Being salaried alone does NOT automatically exempt an employee from overtime pay; they must also have certain,
  2. Primary Duties – which may be either
    1. Professional,
    2. Administrative, or
    3. Executive

Regardless of the job title, the actual duties performed must meet these criteria to qualify for exemption.

  • Professional positions require advanced knowledge in a field that is customarily acquired by prolonged study (think doctors, lawyers, accountants, teachers); it primarily requires the use of professional discretion and judgment in the relevant field
  • Administrative positions are office jobs that work directly with management and the exercise of discretion and independent judgment in the field – this is the hardest to categorize because it does not include a great number of office jobs that are primarily clerical
  • Executive positions consist of management jobs, but must meet additional criteria as well, the manager must directly supervise at least two full time employees or equivalent (if not two full time employees, four half time employees), and have authority when it comes to hiring or firing (if not directly in charge of these acts, their input must be given special weight).

There are also considerations when it comes to working two jobs within the same company or being jointly employed by two companies. If you are a non-exempt employee, your employer or employers may not employ you across business in such a way as to avoid paying you overtime. If you work 30 hours/week each at the two jobs/businesses that employee you jointly, you are entitled to 20 hours of overtime pay even though you didn’t work more than 40 hours at either position individually. You may be paid different hourly rates for the two positions. How the overtime pay is calculated should be based on which position incurs the overtime, or may be worked out and agreed to with your employers ahead of time.

Know your rights! If you think you are being taken advantage of, please call me and I will help you find out if you have a legal remedy.