Receiving an offer for a salaried position at a company can seem like a big step in the right direction for your career. All of a sudden, your income becomes predictable from week to week, although your schedule might not.
Unfortunately for salaried workers, their employers may demand that they work overtime. Your employer could start telling you to stay well after your shift would usually end or even demand that you come in on the weekends.
Hourly workers know that they have a right to receive at least 150% of their usual hourly wage if they put in more than 40 hours in a workweek. Salaried workers are often exempt from overtime pay, which means that they won’t see any increase in their paycheck even if they work 50 or 60 hours one week. What you may not realize and what your employer may not tell you is that not everyone paid on a salary basis is exempt from overtime requirements.
Low salaries do not exempt workers from overtime rights
A salary should be enough for you to afford basic living expenses and support yourself. There is a general expectation that salaried workers receive better wages than hourly workers, which is one reason why they don’t get overtime pay for putting in extra hours. A salary has to be high enough to justify your employer denying you overtime compensation when you put in extra work.
If your salary doesn’t meet the federal threshold for exemption, then your employer should still pay you overtime wages. You should make $684 a week or at least $35,568 per year if your employer pays you with a salary and claims you are exempt from overtime pay requirements. If you have been performing uncompensated overtime for years, you might have a sizable wage claim to bring against your employer.
The issue could affect many workers
Your company might pay such a low salary because it has successfully tricked dozens of people into working uncompensated overtime for a paltry salary. Taking your employer to court or cooperating with others paid similar wages and denied overtime pay could help you push your employer to pay you back for all of that work you have already done.