Workers Compensation Attorney
State and federal overtime laws can be tricky. The Fair Labor Standards Act, which created the federal requirement for employers to pay employees at a rate of 1.5 times their hourly wage for every hour past 40, has many exemptions to it. For example, some agricultural workers are exempt from the act, as are professionals whose job requires a college degree. However, these exemptions are not necessarily the same for state statutes as it is for federal. When it comes to employment, the statute that is more restrictive is controlling. With minimum wage, that means the state law with a higher minimum wage is what you should be following and not the federal law. For overtime, that means if the state law has fewer exemptions for overtime pay, those are the only exemptions you should follow. An overtime compliance attorney can help you evaluate your employment records and make sure you’re compliant with both federal and state regulations.
Some of the most common exemptions to overtime are the professional, managerial, and administrative exemption. Professionals are generally people whose job requires them to attain a college or secondary degree. For example, an accountant would be exempt from the FLSA and many states equivalent statutes because in order to be an accountant you need a degree in accounting from a college or graduate school. However, a college degree requirement in a job posting does not necessarily mean that an employee is exempt. Generally, the exemption only applies if it’s generally agreed upon by an industry that a job requires a college degree or higher. An employee who has an advanced degree doing a job that doesn’t require one is non-exempt so long as their specialized knowledge isn’t being used in the performance of their work. For example, a paralegal is generally considered non-exempt, but a paralegal with an advanced degree in engineering who’s hired at a construction firm to use their knowledge to help the work of the firm would meet the professional exemption requirements. The administrative and managerial exemptions are similar. They both require that the majority of the job involve either management or administrative functions and that the employee’s primary duty includes the ability to exercise discretion and personal judgment for significant matters. Additionally, all of the above exemptions require an employee be compensated at least $684.00 a week to be exempt. There are many more exemptions in the Fair Labor Standards Act, some of which are not present in state statutes. Meeting with an overtime compliance attorney can help you evaluate your employees and their job duties to determine if there is an FLSA exemption that applies to them.
The Fair Labor Standards Act is fully of different exemptions for overtime pay, and many of them require an employee be paid a minimum amount in order to qualify for exemption. What was discussed above didn’t even scratch the surface, there are several industry and occupation specific exemptions that can be difficult to parse for the average employer. An overtime compliance attorney people trust can help demystify the exemptions and help make sure your organization isn’t running the risk of a multiple defendant lawsuit, which can easily reach damages in the 100s of thousands.