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What rights do I have as a salaried employee?

Workers have a wide range of protections under the law. Salaried employee rights are included in legislation that holds employers accountable for violating those laws. 

People work hard for their salary and should be paid appropriately.

But as a salaried employee, you may be working harder than you have to. There’s a common misconception that salaried pay covers overtime. However, this is not the case for all salaried workers, and some employers aren’t quick to set the record straight. You may or may not be exempt from the overtime laws even if you are salaried. In other words, many salaried employees are still eligible for overtime pay. Discover your rights as a salaried worker and what you can do to recover unpaid wages.

SALARIED EMPLOYEE MISCLASSIFICATIONS AND YOUR RIGHTS

There’s often pressure for exempt employees to commit to a never-ending grind. Still, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), it’s possible that you’re not even considered a salary-exempt worker – which means you should get paid overtime. 

But how do you know if you are FLSA exempt and what does that have to do with your salaried employee rights?

Nonexempt workers (another way of saying an employee is eligible for overtime pay) are typically considered hourly or low-wage workers. In some cases, employers either purposely or mistakenly misclassify a salaried worker as “exempt” or exempt from overtime. They may not be fully educated on exempt salaried employee rights or it may be an intentional decision not to pay overtime to increase their company profits. 

To qualify as exempt, an employee’s position must meet certain criteria. For example, his or her salary must be equal to $455 or more per week. The employee must carry out high-level tasks that require the individual’s discretion and judgment based on the employee’s specific role in the company, including duties such as hiring, firing, promoting, and assigning work or projects. 

An employee classified appropriately as exempt is usually in a management-type role, responsible for supervising at least two full-time employees, including several part-time employees whose working hours would total up to two full-time employees. Exempt employees often perform supervisory tasks, even if they are not technically labeled as a “manager,” such as training new employees, maintaining records, planning budgets, and other similar business administration-type tasks, and including work that extends past 40 hours per week without additional compensation. There is no federal law that keeps them from expecting this type of work past forty hours per week. The law simply requires that employees who are not exempt from the overtime laws be paid a premium for time worked over 40 in a workweek.

“Salary exempt” is more than just a label – it’s part of FLSA legislation that determines who does and doesn’t receive overtime pay.

WHO’S ELIGIBLE FOR OVERTIME PAY?

Currently, if you are salaried, you must make below $24,000 per year as an administrative, executive, or professional employee to qualify as a nonexempt salaried worker. That means, if you worked for more than 40 hours per week at a salary of $23,000, you’re entitled to those unpaid hours and overtime premium, an integral part of your salaried employee rights. According to the Department of Labor (DOL), those additional wages should add up to time and one-half of your regular pay rate. If your paycheck does not reflect this amount appropriately, your employer may be violating your salaried employee rights. 

RECOVERING LOST WAGES: WHO CAN FILE?

Have you worked more than 40 hours per week at a salary of less than $24,000? If so, you are not exempt from salaried employee rights to overtime.

Did you inform your employer of your overtime only to receive additional pay at less than time and one-half of your regular pay? Your employer may be violating your employee rights, and you may be able to recover lost wages. Individuals, collective groups, and even independent contractors have a right to unpaid overtime wages.

Unpaid overtime wages are not uncommon in Florida and across the country. Unfortunately, many employees do not thoroughly understand their salaried employee rights and continue to require such salaried employees to work long hours without receiving overtime pay which can add up to a significant amount of lost income over time. When an employer fails to pay overtime wages as a business practice to multiple employees, this can negatively impact many families’ lives. Covered employers are legally bound by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and should be held accountable for their actions.

If you are not exempt from overtime, your salaried employee rights to appropriate pay under the law should be upheld. An employee rights lawyer acts as your advocate to recover unpaid overtime wages and has the skills and experience to hold employers accountable. 

If you believe your employer failed to pay you proper wages, then you have up to three years to file a claim under the FLSA. An experienced employment law attorney in Tampa can help you determine if your situation qualifies.

Take action on violations of your salaried employee rights and recover your unpaid overtime. 

Contact Wenzel, Fenton, Cabassa, P.A. today for a free consultation regarding your salary hours.

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