Wage theft by businesses comes in many forms. Sometimes, it involves a company altering payroll records. Other times, companies demand that workers put in time without compensation. Overtime violations can also be a form of wage theft.
There is a lot of confusion about overtime wages and worker rights. For example, there is a presumption that overtime pay is never necessary for those who receive a salary. A surprising number of people think that only hourly employees qualify for overtime compensation unless the employer has a generous internal policy.
However, federal law makes it clear that only some salaried workers are exempt from overtime pay requirements.
Wages need to meet a certain threshold to exempt a worker
Workers who receive a salary have a more predictable income that allows them to budget. They can rely on a certain level of income regardless of how their demands at work fluctuate throughout the year. Hourly workers, on the other hand, may not know from week to week how many hours they will have to work or how much they will earn.
Hourly workers often make less money than salaried workers in similar positions and may not receive any benefits either. Hourly workers have the right to demand overtime wages if the amount of work they perform qualifies.
Salaried workers who receive relatively low compensation can also expect to receive overtime pay. If your weekly paycheck is less than $684 or your salary is under $35,568, then your wages are low enough for you to still receive overtime if you put in more than 40 hours in a workweek.
What can you do when the company doesn’t pay your overtime?
If your salary or weekly paycheck does not exceed the exemption threshold and you work more than 40 hours, you should receive at least time-and-a-half compensation for the hours over 40 that you worked.
Bringing the issue to the attention of human resources or the payroll department may be all that is necessary for you to receive your pay. However, the company may refuse to pay you overtime or might even retaliate against you for claiming overtime wages. Those facing employer misconduct related to unpaid overtime may have to look into wage claim litigation to connect with the wages they deserve.