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Are You Exempt From Overtime? Part 1

Many individuals that are paid on a salary basis are owed overtime. However, many hard-working men and women believe that their full-time salary exempts them from receiving additional payment. In this two-part article, Tampa wage and hour attorneys will first educate you on basic workweek and overtime requirements defined by the U.S. Department of Labor. We will then discuss classifications for exemptions. If you believe you are owed additional compensation from your employer, consult a Tampa wage and hour attorney.

Understanding the Terms Workday and Workweek

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the term “employ” means “to suffer or permit to work.” Any time that the employee is required to be present at the workplace this is considered part of the “workweek.” Weekends and holidays are not considered any different than weekdays. In other words, any period of a seven-day, 168-hour time period is considered part of a workweek.  

The U.S. Department of Labor defines a “workday” as the time that the employee “commences his/her principal activity” to the time of day that they cease performing this action. In many cases, this workday can extend well beyond their scheduled shift time. Unless exempt, every hour that the employee works should be compensable hours.   

Understanding Overtime Requirements

If a nonexempt employee works in excess of 40 hours in a workweek, by federal law, they are required to be compensated at time and one-half of their regular pay rate for each additional hour worked. As long as the worker is 16 or older, there is no limit in regard to the number of hours an employee may work during a workweek. Employers attempt to avoid paying overtime in a variety of ways including:

Fixed Salary: Many employers claim that they do not owe additional compensation because the employee’s salary accounts for more than 40 hours in a workweek. For example, if an employer requires their workforce to work a 50-hour schedule, they must pay 10 of those hours at the overtime rate and not a fixed salary total.

Waive Overtime: An employer may try to waive the employee’s right to overtime by claiming that the employee agreed to a contract that mutually agrees that they will not receive overtime pay for their services. In some cases, the employer may have a clause in the contract that states that only authorized hours will be compensated. Regardless, the employee has a right to be compensated for time worked.  

Misclassified: Many employers inform their employees that they are ineligible for overtime because of either their full-time status or the responsibilities of their position. As we will discuss in the second part of this article, there are only a few specific examples of positions that are exempt from overtime pay. The majority of salaried employees should receive overtime pay for each additional hour worked after 40.

If you would like to speak with a Tampa wage and hour attorney, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.