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Can salaried workers make overtime claims against employers?

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2022 | Employment Law |

Federal employment laws establish minimum standards that help protect all workers. Employers operating in New York need to follow state and federal law with regard to how they treat their workers. Some of the most important laws protect your right to an appropriate wage for your labor.

Those directly employed by a business will typically fall into one of two categories. Workers with unpredictable schedules and fluctuating income are hourly workers, while employees who receive the same wages every week regardless of how long they work are salaried workers. There are different rules that apply to those working a job with a salary versus those paid on an hourly basis.

Overtime rights can be different depending on which way your employer pays you.

Some salaried workers are exempt from overtime pay

Federal law establishes the right to receive overtime pay if a worker performs more than 40 hours of work in a specific workweek. Overtime wages are at least 150% of a worker’s average hourly hey. Many salaried employees are exempt from overtime pay. Their employers can require that they put in extra work and not increase the pay that worker receives.

However, a salary has to meet a minimum standard for a company to use it as an excuse to avoid paying overtime wages. If your salary is less than $35,658 per year, your income doesn’t reach the federal standard salary level. Unless you make at least $684 per week, your employer still needs to pay overtime wages if you work more than 40 hours in a week.

What can you do as a worker with a low salary?

If you receive pay on a salary basis and you don’t meet the current threshold for a standard salary, then your employer should pay you overtime if they demand more than 40 hours of work a week. You may need to bring your pay stubs to your employer when asking for the overtime wages that they previously denied you.

You will likely also want to document the issue with your own records kept outside of work. If the company retaliates against you by firing you or just continues to refuse to pay you, then you may need to take them to court to make a claim for your unpaid overtime. Learning about your wage rights can help you hold an employer accountable for not compensating you appropriately.

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