I develop content for a company website and am paid a salary of $65000 per year. I work 60 to 80 hours a week. Should I be getting overtime? My employer says I am exempt because I get a salary.
Workers' Compensation Lawyer
Whether someone is eligible for overtime depends on whether he or she qualifies as an exempt employee. If your position does not fall within one of the exemptions delineated by the Labor Code or other applicable statute, you are eligible for overtime. To find out whether you, specifically, have a case for unpaid overtime, you should contact an attorney in your area to schedule a consultation.
Your employers reasoning (i.e. because you earn a salary) is flawed. Salary has nothing to do with exemption from overtime pay.
For purposes of argument, let's assume that as presently structured your position should be paid overtime. By your statement, you are looking at overtime rates for 40 hours a week. What do you think happens in that situation? Do you think that the employer just mutters to himself: "Gee, I guess I will have to budget a lot more -- more than twice more -- for content development than I planned to. Good thing I have so much extra money I can allocate to that cost of doing business."? Really? Is that what you are expecting? How do YOU see this unfolding over the longer view?
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I can answer Ms. McCall's question for you: I see it unfolding as your employer paying what it actually owes you.
Whether you are being paid a salary is not the issue in your case. The issue is whether you are exempt from the overtime laws, or whether you are non-exempt.
Computer professionals can be exempt from overtime laws, but you do not make enough for that exemption to apply. Unless some other exemption applies to you, which does not seem likely, you may be entitled to a significant amount of overtime.
Overtime calculations can get very involved. Any time you worked more than 8 hours in a day *or* more than 40 hours in a week, you are entitled to overtime. So even in weeks where you may have worked less than 40 hours, you are entitled to overtime for days in which you worked more than 8 hours.
It gets better. Failure to pay wages properly can come with significant penalties and interest, which can often equal or even exceed the amount of wages owed themselves.
Moreover, if you ever had to wind up suing them, the court would award you reasonable attorney fees if you win, so you would get to keep much more of your wages.
If you believe that you are owed wages that have not been paid, bear in mind that you must act within the statute of limitations, or your rights to do so may be lost forever. You can recover wages owed for the past 3 or 4 years, depending on the circumstances. If this hasn't been going on long enough that delay would cause you to lose money, you may consider waiting until you're no longer working there before bringing this up. It would be illegal to fire you for asking for your wages, but employers do illegal things all the time, and you'd probably rather have a job than a lawsuit. If you do bring it up, it sounds like the law is likely on your side.
I hope this information is helpful to you. Please let me know if you have any further questions about this.
Craig T. Byrnes
Disclaimer: Please be aware that I am not offering legal advice, nor forming an attorney-client relationship with you. I am not representing you, nor doing anything to protect your legal rights. If you believe that you have suffered a legal wrong, take action before any statute or limitations expires, or your right to do so may be lost forever. Good luck in your legal matter.