Overtime wages are a crucial form of employee protection. By requiring that companies compensate workers at 150% of their typical hourly wage or more when they work a lot of hours, the government helps to curb abusive employment schedules. Otherwise, companies could demand that workers put in so many hours that they can not reasonably care for their physical health or their families.
Of course, working a few more hours than 40 every week isn’t necessarily an issue. Many hourly workers and salaried employees may work 50 hours or more each week without it impacting their health or their social lives.
Often, people assume that all salaried workers are exempt from overtime pay, but that simply isn’t the case. Those who receive a salary can sometimes claim overtime wages just like hourly employees can. When might a salaried employee have the right to demand overtime pay?
Lower salaries may not exempt workers from overtime pay
Salaried workers usually have a higher overall wage and better benefits than hourly workers. The improved job security and financial predictability are among the reasons why many salaried workers are exempt from overtime pay requirements.
Those who receive relatively low compensation on a salary basis instead of an hourly basis may not be exempt from federal overtime pay requirements. The standard salary level at which someone becomes exempt is $35,568 per year, which breaks down to $684 per week. If you make less than that, you have a right to claim overtime pay.
How do you get overtime pay as a non-exempt salaried worker?
If you just learned that your employer has unfairly denied you overtime wages for years, you may have a large claim for unpaid wages.
You will potentially need to go back over your payroll records to determine how many unpaid overtime hours you worked. Then, you will need to inform your employer about the discrepancy between what you received and what they legally should have paid you. If they still refuse to compensate you appropriately or take punitive action against you, then you may have to take legal action against the company.
Knowing the overtime rules can help you get the wages that you deserve.