Can a Utah Salaried Employee Get Overtime Pay?

posted January 30, 2010 | by

Are you a Utah employee entitled to paid overtime? There is a common belief that if you are on salary, then you are not. The truth is that if you can be considered an “exempt” employee, then your are not entitled to overtime. If you are “non-exempt,” however, then you are entitled to overtime pay.

First of all, overtime is defined under Federal law, in the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA), as compensation paid to an employee who works more than 40 hours in a work week. The amount to be paid for hours greater than 40 is 1.5 times the normal hourly rate. For example, an employee who made $10 per hour should be paid $15 per hour for all hours over 40 to that work week. A workweek is defined by the FLSA as seven consecutive 24-hour periods, or 168 hours (24X7). The workweek can start on any given day of the week .

Exempt Employees (No Overtime Paid)

The following are employees who would be considered exempt from overtime pay requirements:

  • Commissioned sales employees of a retail or service business if more than one-half of the employee’s earnings come from commissions and the employee makes over 1.5 times the going minimum wage;
  • Computer professionals: Under the FLSA, section 13(a)(17), certain computer professionals who are paid at least $27.63 per hour are exempt from Federal overtime provisions;
  • Drivers, driver’s helpers, loaders and mechanics are exempt from the overtime pay requirements of the FLSA if they are employed by a motor carrier, and if the employee’s duties affect the safety of operation of the vehicles in transporting people or goods across state lines;
  • Farmworks that are employed on small farms are exempt overtime pay (as well as minimum wage provisions of the FLSA).
  • Salesmen, partsmen and mechanics that are employed by auto dealerships are exempt;
  • Seasonal and recreational businesses: these employees are exempt from overtime and minimum wage laws;
  • Executive, administrative, professional and outside sales employees. Those that fit in this category are exempt from receiving overtime.

Non-Exempt Employees (Overtime Paid)

Generally speaking, non-management or “blue-collar” employees, on hourly or salary pay, are entitled to overtime. “White-collar” type employees who make less than $455 per week are also generally eligible for overtime. In determining overtime, job titles are irrelevant. Overtime pay eligibility is based on the occupation, wages and job duties.

Other exemptions may apply, and you should check with a lawyer if you have questions about your specific job.

A problem (for employers) arises when the employer “misclassifies” the employee as being exempt, so as to avoid paying overtime. This is called overtime misclassification. For example, an employer cannot call a lower-level employee a “manager” if that person has no real managerial duties. Federal law look to what the employee actually does versus what they may be called.

Federal law requires employers to pay overtime if they call in employees who might have been on “standby” and they end up working more than 40 hours in a workweek. Federal law also will generally require the employee to pay for mandatory training time if this exceeds 40 hours a week as well as “preparation” time, such as putting on a company uniform there at the facility, inspecting their patrol car, checking items in or out, or simply doing company-related paperwork.

Some employers offer or give “comp” time in place of overtime that the employee might be entitled to. This practice violates the FLSA, however, as the employee is in essence only getting 1x their normal hourly rate.

Finally, in this economy, an employee may be understandably reluctant to complain about an unpaid overtime they might have. They are basically worried that they will lose their jobs. Federal law, however, protects the employee by making it illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee who exercises their rights under the FLSA. While this restriction against retaliation may not prevent an employer from firing an employee, at the point that they do, then that employee also has an additional claim against them for retaliation.

Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-666-3959 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah unpaid overtime attorney.

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