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Can salaried workers claim overtime wages like hourly workers do?

On Behalf of | Oct 5, 2020 | Employment Law |

Employees may overlook certain kinds of mistakes or misconduct on the part of their employer, but when it comes to their wages, workers are often quick to make assertions about what they think their rights are. Some might even try to bring a lawsuit against your company if they don’t get the resolution they expect.

However, many people have inaccurate information about everything from how long a shift can legally be to whether or not they qualify for overtime wages. If you have a salaried staff member attempting to claim that you should pay them overtime for their work because they have put in substantially more than 40 hours, you might immediately assume that there is no basis for that claim. However, there might be situations in which a salaried worker can collect overtime.

Overtime laws typically protect hourly workers

As a general rule, hourly workers have less job security and often command lower wages than salaried professionals. Workers paid based on the number of hours they work and not a flat rate every pay period have the right to receive at least 150% of their standard hourly wage for any hours beyond 40 that they work in a given workweek.

Although most salaried workers are exempt from overtime requirements, which means that your company can pay overtime but does not have a legal obligation to, there may be salaried workers at your company that technically qualify for overtime pay because of the amount of their salary.

Low-paying salary jobs are sometimes susceptible to overtime wages

Salaried positions are typically exempt from overtime because the worker has a guaranteed income and probably commands a higher wage than an hourly worker in the same field. However, that isn’t always true.

Especially if you have low-paying salary positions in your company, some of those workers might be able to claim overtime wages. The federal cutoff for overtime requirements for a salaried worker is $35,568.

Being careful to monitor the hours worked by employees whose salaries do not exempt them from overtime requirements can help you keep your costs low. Giving a small wage increase to push someone over that exemption level can be another way to protect your company from overtime claims.


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