Can you make an overtime wage claim if you receive a salary?

Workers across the United States have a right to demand overtime wages in certain situations. Although federal overtime rules do not require overtime pay for those who work third shift, over the weekend or on holidays, the law does mandate that those who work more than 40 hours in a specific work week should receive overtime compensation.

Overtime pay means that a worker should receive at least 150% of their average hourly wage for any time that qualifies. A surprising number of people assume that overtime wages only apply to hourly workers. However, federal overtime rules also require that employers pay overtime wages to certain salaried workers.

Low salaries may not exempt workers from overtime pay

Federal overtime rules prioritize hourly workers because they comprise a significant portion of the lower-paid working population. It is important that those who dedicate themselves to work receive appropriate compensation for their time and labor.

Salaried workers have certain benefits over hourly workers, including their ability to depend on predictable wages regardless of how much they work. However, companies cannot just demand that salaried workers put in unpaid overtime.

The less someone makes, the more likely it is that they are not exempt from overtime requirements under federal law. The threshold for exemption increased in 2020. Now, workers who make less than $684 per week or $35,568 per year are not exempt from overtime wages. Every hour non-exempt salaried workers put in over 40 in a given work-week, they should receive at least 150% of their standard hourly compensation.

How do you address unpaid overtime wages? 

The first step most people take when dealing with unpaid overtime wage claims must make is to identify how much overtime they have actually worked. Reviewing your payroll records can help you determine exactly how many hours of overtime pay you should receive.

Once you have that information, you can bring a claim to your employer. If they do not remedy the situation or if they penalize you for asking for the wages they owe you, you may need to file a wage claim against them in court. Recognizing your right to overtime pay even as a salaried worker is the first step toward getting the wages you deserve.

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