You’ve probably wondered if you should you be getting overtime. To figure that out, there are two questions to ask:
1. How is your job classified?
2. Has your job been classified correctly?
Of those two questions, the second one may be the most important. Let’s dig into each one a little further.
Exempt v. Non-Exempt: What It Means
The key to whether or not you’re eligible for overtime under federal law is whether you’re classified as an exempt or non-exempt employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
“Exempt” refers to “exempt from overtime.” To put it in plain language, companies aren’t required to pay overtime to exempt employees.
Exempt status is generally meant to apply to people in executive and professional salaried positions, as well as certain administrative positions. Some jobs involving computers or outside sales are also categorized as exempt.
“Non-exempt” status refers to employees who are not exempt from overtime. In other words, the employer is required to pay a non-exempt employee time-and-one-half for any time worked over 40 hours per week. Non-exempt employees usually work in hourly, non-executive, non-managerial positions – but not always. It is possible for non-exempt employees to be in salaried positions under certain circumstances.
Keep in mind that while state laws largely mirror the federal standard, there may be some differences that could affect overtime eligibility, so it’s a good idea to seek legal advice before taking any action.
The Sneaky Way Some Companies Duck Out of Overtime
Here’s where things get interesting. The fact is, some companies have figured a way to game the system when it comes to overtime.
Yes, you guessed it: They know that classifying someone as “exempt” is an effective way to save an awful lot of money. The problem is, sometimes the money that they’re “saving” is money that should be going into your wallet.
That’s why it’s important to know whether your job has been properly classified. Unfortunately, that answer isn’t as cut-and-dried as you might think. Reason: The Department of Labor states that classifications aren’t based on job titles, but rather on job duties.
Here are few questions to ask if you think you may have been misclassified:
1. Does your salary come out to more than $455 per week?
2. Do you manage other workers?
3. Do you have the authority to hire or fire?
4. Does your job involve decision making related to the strategy or direction of the business?
If you answered NO to any of the above questions, you may be entitled to overtime pay under the FLSA.