Laws regarding overtime pay are more complex than they might appear. The first step in examining a question concerning overtime is determining whether the worker is exempt or non-exempt. An employee is deemed "exempt" when they are excluded from receiving overtime pay for working in excess of 40 hours per week. In other words, they are "exempt" from the rules of the Fair Labor Standards Act. A worker who is required to get overtime pay for working more than 40 hours per week is not exempt from the FLSA.
The differences of these two classes in regard to overtime pay are pretty simple to understand. However, the real challenge comes from determining whether a worker is exempt or non-exempt. Not only is there are a distinction between the two classes, but there are also different types of exemptions -- each having a unique set of requirements.
An employee's job title has no bearing upon which classification they fall into. For most companies, exempt employees will fit into one of the three areas known as the "white-collar exemptions." These classifications are executive, administrative and professional. For an employee to be classified under these white-collar exemptions, they must be salaried employees. This means that those employees paid on hourly, per diem or a commission basis will be considered non-exempt. Further consideration is needed to determine whether a salaried employee meets the requirements for being non-exempt.
If an employer has been accused of wage theft, unpaid overtime or other wage disputes, the ultimate legal penalties could be harsh. Wage and hour law attorneys can provide employers with the representation they need to protect their companies and reputations. Trustworthy legal counsel is indispensable when facing such charges.