I’m salaried. How many hours can my employer require me to work?
What the overtime pay laws dictate is how you must be paid for the hours worked.
Covered, nonexempt employees must be paid overtime pay at a rate of not less than one and one-half times their regular rate of pay after 40 hours of work in a workweek. The key word is nonexempt. Most employees (and employers for that matter) think that if employees are paid a salary, they are exempt from the overtime pay requirements and, therefore, not entitled to receive overtime. That is simply not true.
The confusion happens because the most common overtime exemptions require that an employee be paid a salary ($455* per week minimum). However, in addition to this salary requirement, the employee’s duties must also meet the requirements of one of these exemptions. Just placing an employee on salary does NOT exempt the employer from the overtime pay laws unless the employee’s duties also meet an exemption’s requirements.
* The Department of Labor under the Obama Administration increased this salary amount to $913 per week effective 12/1/2016; however, this increase was blocked by a court ruling. The Trump Administration is now reconsidering these changes and appears to favor a lower minimum salary amount. Please see this page for the latest updates.
The following is an overview of the most common overtime exemptions:
Salary Level: $455* per week
- Whose primary duty is management of the enterprise in which the employee is employed or of a customarily recognized department or subdivision thereof;
- Who customarily and regularly directs the work of two or more other employees; and
- Who has the authority to hire or fire other employees or whose suggestions and recommendations as to the hiring, firing, advancement, promotion or any other change of status of other employees are given particular weight.
Salary Level: $455* per week
- Whose primary duty is the performance of office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers; and
- Whose primary duty includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.
- Whose primary duty is the performance of work requiring knowledge of an advanced type (defined as work which is predominantly intellectual in character, and which includes work requiring the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment) in a field of science or learning customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction; or
- Whose primary duty is the performance of work requiring invention, imagination, originality or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor.
Salary Level: $455* per week or $27.63 an hour
Computer systems analysts, computer programmers, software engineers or other similarly skilled workers in the computer field are eligible for exemption, but only if the employee’s primary duty consists of:
- The application of systems analysis techniques and procedures, including consulting with users, to determine hardware, software or system functional specifications;
- The design, development, documentation, analysis, creation, testing or modification of computer systems or programs, including prototypes, based on and related to user or system design specifications;
- The design, documentation, testing, creation or modification of computer programs related to machine operating systems; or
- A combination of the aforementioned duties, the performance of which requires the same level of skills.
If you are a salaried employee and your job duties do not meet one of the above exemptions, you may not be exempt from the overtime pay laws. If you would like us to evaluate your situation, please call us at 713-782-LAW1 (5291) or 1-866-559-0400 or submit your information using our convenient Case Evaluation form.