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Did you become eligible for overtime pay this year?

You may not have paid attention to changes made to the basic salary threshold by the New York Department of Labor in Dec. 2016. Perhaps that was because it didn't affect you in 2017. Now that it's a new year, your employment status may have changed, and you may now be eligible for overtime even as a salaried employee.

You may be wondering how that's possible since all salaried employees are exempt from overtime. Right? The simple and confusing answer to that question is not necessarily. In order to remain exempt and not earn overtime pay, your salary must be at or above a certain level.

What's the difference between non-exempt and exempt?

Under federal and state labor laws, all employees fit into one of the two following categories:

  • Non-exempt employees receive a pay rate of at least minimum wage and earn overtime for any hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek. Most employers pay non-exempt employees on an hourly basis, but they can pay them a salary as well.
  • Exempt employees do not fall under the minimum wage and overtime requirements. These employees most often receive a salary and work in administrative, executive and other professional positions.

When the federal Department of Labor increased the minimum salary threshold for exempt employees in 2016, the state of New York followed suit. This means that, if your salary falls below a certain amount, you may receive overtime pay now.

How do I know if I now qualify for overtime pay?

As of Dec. 31, 2017, you qualified for overtime pay if your salary falls below the following:

  • If you live in New York City and your employer has 11 or more employees, your status changed if you make less than $975 per week.
  • If you live in New York City and your employer has 10 or fewer employees, your status changed if you make less than $900 per week.
  • If you live in Westchester, Suffolk or Nassau counties, your status changed if you make less than $875 per week.
  • If you live in any other part of New York, your status changed if you make less than $780 per week.

Your employer had the option of keeping you as an exempt employee and raising your salary above the minimum salary threshold outlined above or changing your classification to non-exempt and paying you overtime.

My pay hasn't changed at all, but I make less than the threshold

If you didn't receive a raise this year and are not receiving overtime pay for any hours over 40 that you worked in a workweek, your employer violated the law. In order to be sure, you could request a consultation with a New York employment lawyer to review your situation. If it turns out that your employer did violate the law, discussing your legal options would be the next step.

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