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When Are Salaried Employees Eligible for Overtime Pay?

When Are Salaried Employees Eligible for Overtime Pay?

Millions of U.S. workers are entitled to overtime pay if they work over 40 hours during the workweek. But many salaried employees are ineligible for overtime according to federal regulations. However, a recent change to the federal overtime law makes it easier for salaried workers to earn overtime. Understanding the rule is critical to ensure you’re paid the money you’re due. 

Do you suspect your employer is wrongfully denying you overtime pay? Reach out to the Employment and Commerce Law Group today. Our Tennessee employment law attorneys focus exclusively on worker rights issues. Our in-depth knowledge of federal labor laws and commitment to fiercely representing our clients has helped Tennesseans recover millions of dollars in rightful compensation. Let us defend you, too. Call or contact us today for a free consultation. 

Are Salaried Employees in TN Eligible for Overtime?

Many people think only workers paid an hourly rate can receive overtime pay. Not true. Many salaried employees in Tennessee are eligible for overtime. Certain workers are exempt from overtime laws, but these exemptions only apply to a relatively narrow group of employees. However, some employers take advantage of their employees’ misconceptions to deny them the money they’ve earned.

When Can Salaried Employees Get Overtime?

According to a recent rule change from the federal Department of Labor, most salaried employees who make less than $684 per week are generally eligible for overtime. (A salary of $684 per week works out to about $35,500 per year, before taxes.) For an employer to deny a salaried worker overtime pay, the worker must make $684 or more per week and meet specific other exemption requirements laid out by the Department of Labor. 

Exemptions apply to company executives, administrative employees, professional workers (e.g., doctors, lawyers, etc.), certain computer and software workers, and outside sales workers. Your eligibility will depend upon whether you meet the criteria for several “tests” under the law. 

Though exemptions cover a wide range of employees, some employers apply a blanket policy of not offering overtime to any salaried workers. This action may be deliberate but could also be due to misunderstanding the overtime salary law. An employment attorney can identify whether you qualify for overtime and address it with your employer. 

How to Determine Overtime for Salaried Employees

Generally, overtime pay is calculated at a rate of 1.5 times your standard hourly rate. So, if you usually make $20 per hour, your overtime rate would be $30 per hour for any time you worked beyond your regular 40 hours. 

However, a salaried employee’s compensation is not entirely based on their average hourly rate. Additional information from the Department of Labor indicates that employees can use performance-based bonuses and incentive payments (e.g., commissions) to pay up to 10 percent of the employee’s standard salary. 

This compensation does not necessarily include overtime pay for working more than 40 hours in a given workweek. Contact an experienced attorney at the Employment and Commerce Law Group if you have questions about calculating your overtime pay.

Who Is Exempt From Overtime in Tennessee?

While a specific employee’s duties and compensation may or may not qualify them for overtime, a few broad categories of workers are exempt from overtime rules. Some of these exempt workers include:

  • Company executives: This exemption applies to employees who perform primarily managerial duties. This includes directing the work of at least two full-time employees (or equivalent part-time workers) and playing a role in hiring, firing, and promotion decisions. Finally, executives must meet the standard of earning at least $684 per week.
  • Administrative workers: Employees who perform non-manual office duties related to their employer’s management, general operations, or customers are generally considered administrative workers. Requirements include having discretion concerning “matters of significance” at work and earning $684 or more per week.
  • Professional workers: Two types of professional workers can be exempt from overtime rules. The first are “learned professionals,” or employees who work in fields requiring advanced and specialized knowledge (e.g., doctors, professors, etc.). The second type are “creative professionals,” or employees who work on the creative side of some artistic endeavor. In both cases, professional workers must make at least $684 per week to be exempt from overtime rules.
  • Computer employees: Computer systems analysts, programmers, software engineers, or workers in similar positions may qualify as exempt employees. Their duties must involve working with, analyzing, or designing computer hardware or software somehow. Finally, they must make at least $684 per week (or the hourly equivalent) to be exempt from overtime.
  • “Highly compensated” employees: This catch-all rule fits any employees who make at least $107,432 per year and primarily perform executive or administrative duties.
  • Outside sales employees: Sales workers whose primary duty is obtaining orders or contracts for their employer’s services or the use of their employer’s facilities may be exempt. They also must spend most of their time away from their employer’s place of business to be exempt from overtime rules.

Can an Employer Force You to Work Overtime in Tennessee?

In most cases, an employer in Tennessee can require you to work overtime. However, if you are forced to work more than 40 hours per week, you should be earning overtime unless you meet the qualifications for an exemption. Get legal advice right away if your employer is not complying with overtime rules.

Contact Us Today to Speak With a Tennessee Overtime Lawyer

Don’t let your employer get away with denying you overtime pay. Contact the Employment and Commerce Law Group today for a free consultation with a knowledgeable Tennessee overtime attorney.

Our lawyers know that employees sometimes worry about “getting in trouble” for hiring an attorney. Rest assured that many employment disputes are resolved without going to trial. You should also know that any form of employer retaliation is against the law. Our attorneys will handle your unpaid overtime matter sensitively, so you don’t experience unnecessary stress while we pursue the money you’re owed. And we’re not afraid to get tough if that’s what it takes to get the results you deserve. 

There’s no cost for a free case review. Call or contact us today.

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