Taking a job as a salaried worker instead of an hourly employee can be a step toward enhanced financial and career stability. Instead of needing to worry from week to week about how many hours you will have on the schedule, you can depend on the same paycheck no matter how the busyness of your work fluctuates.
Salaried workers often typically have benefits as well, such as paid time off and health care insurance offered through their employer.
Salaried workers are mostly exempt from overtime requirements. That means that when things get busy, their employer can require that they work more than 40 hours in a given pay period without paying them time-and-a-half wages for that extra time. In order to be exempt, a worker must meet a certain salary threshold that the federal government has recently increased.
How much do you have to make to be exempt from overtime pay?
Under the current federal rules, salaried workers who earn $684 per week are exempt from overtime pay requirements. The company can still choose to offer extra pay to incentivize workers to put in more time, but there is no obligation for them to offer enhanced wages or extra pay for hours over 40 that their staff works.
Your employer may not disclose this information to you, especially if your salary previously was over the threshold but now is not. They might hope that you are not aware of this change in policy and won’t understand that you have a right to ask for overtime pay or to demand an increase in your salary if they wish to continue treating you as an exempt worker.
Overtime violations are a common form of wage claims
Many companies undertake questionable efforts to try to avoid paying their staff members overtime wages. Some companies ask hourly workers to work off the clock, while other companies don’t pay workers enough to actually exempt them but still treat them as though they are exempt from overtime requirements.
Especially if you believe this issue to be systemic across many workers, discussing the situation with an attorney can give you an idea about how to stand up for yourself and your right to a fair wage.