The Fair Labor Standards Act is a Federal Law requiring most employers to pay their employees 1.5 times their hourly pay rate for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per work week.
Many employees hear their employer tell them their position is "exempt" or "non-exempt". This is a legal way of saying whether or not your position is paid overtime. An exempt employee means that you are exempt from the overtime pay provisions of the FLSA, and do not get overtime pay. A non-exempt employee means that you are not exempt from the overtime pay provisions of the FLSA and are entitled to overtime pay.
The FLSA has many exceptions/exemptions that allow employers to not pay overtime wages. Example: often teachers and long haul truck drivers are exempt from being paid overtime.Two other exemptions are the "administrative employee" exemption and the "professional employee" exemption. To find out if someone comes under these categories, thoroughly review your job duties/responsibilities.
The Administrative Exemption is probably the most popular exemption employers try to use in denying their employees their overtime pay. In order to qualify for the Administrative Employee Exemption, all of the following conditions must be met:
1. The employee must be compensated on salary not less than $455.00 per week;
2. The employee's primary duty must be 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
3. The employee's primary duty includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.
It is this second and third conditions that usually cannot be satisfied by an employer. For instance, in order to exercise discretion and independent judgment, an employee must do more than apply well established techniques, procedures or specific standards set out by the company such as processing orders or communicating with clients.
Professional Employees Exemption
The Professional Employees Exemption is similar to the Administrative Exemption. It requires:
1. The employee be compensated at a rate of no less than $455.00 per week;
2. The employee's primary duty must be the performance of work requiring advance knowledge, defined as work which is predominantly intellectual in character and which includes work requiring the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment;
3. The advanced knowledge must be in the field of science or learning; and
4. Customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction.
Jobs of this nature are different than work involving routine mental, manual, mechanical or physical work. Professional exemption jobs can be jobs in the field of law, medicine, theology, accounting, engineering, architecture, sciences, pharmacy and other jobs that have a recognized professional status. To find out if someone comes under these categories, thoroughly review your job duties/responsibilities.
How You Are Being Paid (Salary, Etc) Does Not Matter:
If you are entitled to overtime pay, it does not matter whether you are being paid by salary, an hourly rate of pay, or even being paid by commissions. The vast majority of workers in the United States are entitled to be paid overtime wages for hours worked in excess of forty (40) hours per work week.