Salaried Workers

“I’m salaried. Overtime laws don’t apply to me… right?”

Wrong! There is a common misconception that when an employee is paid on a salary basis, he or she is automatically not entitled to overtime pay.  In some cases, that is true…. but in many others, the company just plain gets that wrong. Under the law, every employee who works more than 40 hours a week is entitled to receive pay equal to 1½ times their normal rate of pay — unless the company can meet very specific criteria for certain exemptions from that requirement.

What are some examples of positions that are properly salaried?

One of the most commonly used exemption is the “executive” exemption, which basically says that people who are true “managers” may not be entitled to overtime. However, this has very specific criteria for what counts and what doesn’t. Supervising other people and directing their activities.  Authority to hire and fire.  Setting schedules and rates of pay.  Making real decisions about things that really affect people.  These things may indicate that an employee is indeed a true manager and isn’t entitled to overtime. There are plenty of other factors that weigh in too though, so it’s always worth asking.

Another example of an exempt worker are the “learned professionals” like lawyers, doctors, dentists, and other over-educated types. There is another exemption called the “administrative” exemption which is, confusingly, not something that applies to positions that most people would refer to as “admins.” That one basically has to do with high level internal oriented positions but who might not necessarily have management or supervisory type authority over other people — for example, the head of a Human Resources department.

My title is “manager.” Am I out of luck?

No. Many companies have tried to get creative and call people “managers” to get out of paying them overtime. Unfortunately for them, the courts aren’t stupid. It does not matter what you are called, but what you do with your time. If the company calls you the Vice President and Supreme Lord and Ruler of the Hygiene Department to try to get out of paying you overtime, but your job is actually scrubbing toilets and mopping floors, the courts are going to want you to get paid your proper overtime pay like every other custodian or janitor.

Time and a half of what rate of pay? What’s my “normal rate of pay” if I’m paid a flat amount per week?

In New York, the presumption is that a flat weekly amount of pay is for 40 hours a week. There can be situations where it’s apparent that the flat amount is supposed to be for some other number of hours or for some other reasons needs to be computed differently, but by and large the assumption is that your weekly pay is for 40 hours of work.  So, whatever your flat weekly amount was, divide that number by 40 and that’s hour hourly rate. If you were paid a salary but not properly exempt under the law, then you’d probably be entitled to the number of overtime hours a week you worked, times 1.5 times your computed hourly rate.  Under state and federal law you may also be entitled to other penalties, but that’s the rough guide for the backpay amount. If you’re doing the math, you’ve probably realized that sometimes these claims can be fairly significant.

Our Wage Theft Attorneys Are Ready to Help

If you have worked more than 40 hours as a salaried employee and you aren’t sure whether your pay was computed properly or not, it is worth at least asking the question. Evaluations are free and confidential — costs you nothing just to see.  Once you see if there’s a claim, we can discuss the options you have and the pragmatics of whether it makes sense for you to move forward, and if so how. Call AndersonDodson at (212) 961-7639 or send us an email.