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How salary and overtime are different

Some employees in California might wonder how salary legally differs from overtime. Salary is financial compensation that an employee is paid regularly; it does not fluctuate. In contrast, overtime is paid to hourly employees when they work more than a certain number of hours or days.

Laws about wages, salary and overtime differ from country to country and from state to state. However, federal law in the United States is clear about the difference in salaried employees and hourly employees. A salaried employee might work more or fewer hours in any given week, but that does not change the amount the employee is paid. Salaried workers are not eligible for overtime pay.

One result of this is that retail managers are unable to get overtime pay since they tend to be salaried workers. However, retail employees who are not management would most likely be hourly employees. Therefore, they would be paid overtime for a week longer than 40 hours.

Unfortunately, some companies may refuse to pay workers overtime. When an hourly employee who normally works a regular eight hours per day for five days out of the week occasionally works a nine- or 10-hour day, this seems to be a straightforward case of the employee being owed overtime pay. However, it can become more complicated in an industry or area where overtime pay is calculated based on going over a certain number of hours in a day or in deciding whether an on-call employee is subject to overtime pay.

Another complication may arise in how a worker is classified. Sometimes, an employer may classify a worker as a contractor instead of an employee or as ineligible for overtime in a position where overtime should be available. People who believe they are owed overtime or other wages that they are not being paid might want to discuss the situation with an attorney.

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