For many a person who is being offered a salary job, they are going to have a number of questions to ask. One of the most important questions many people may go onto salary is to figure out just how much money they can make. After all, a salary is a fixed income, meaning that a salaried worker gets the same amount of money at the end of the day, unlike an hourly employee whose income is less in their control. The big question a lot of employees considering going for a salaried position is, is it still possible to receive overtime pay?
Can a salaried employee receive overtime pay?
The answer to that question is, honestly, not quite as simple as a “yes” or a “no.” See, different companies may have different policies to handle this kind of thing, and it is even possible for states to handle it completely differently from one another. Overtime pay refers to pay given after a person has worked more hours than they are expected to as part of their job, namely 40 hours. Even hours over 40 hours will result in the money earned from that hour being 1.5x the normal rate that they normally earn. Regardless of whether it is deemed okay or not, however, it is not very fun to have to be not paid the overtime you deserve. Work is work, after all, and just because you get paid a lot of money does not mean that if you work harder than expected, you should not be compensated for that extra hard work. As far as overtime goes with salaried employees, yes, they can absolutely receive overtime. They are entitled to it just as much as a regular employee is. They get their 40 hours as per usual, and if they exceed that amount of time, they will get a nice little overtime bonus to enjoy. The only real exception to this is if a salaried employee is considered exempt from receiving overtime. An example of this is if a salaried employee makes an amount that is not recognized as relating to overtime pay, or specific duties that are not considered eligible.
There is actually a hard number that one must have to hit before they are no longer eligible for overtime pay. In 2019, that number was $47,476, but the number has since mandatorily increased in 2020. The circumstances of one’s overtime may also depend on the type of job. For example, a white-collar job, while having the risk that you may develop carpal tunnel from prolonged typing, is not going to be considered as high risk as a blue-collar job, which has much more repetitive tasks with their hands and physical skills, or professions that involve dangerous work, such as paramedics, firefighters, and police officers. Other exceptions may be made, such as in the event that a person’s work is commission-based in nature, thereby putting it under different circumstances than a normal job. A common way that an employer may try to avoid paying overtime for these extra hours is to simply pay that salaried employee more than the all-time high number that a person can earn before they cannot make overtime.
For the most part, an employer — a good employer, anyway — is going to do whatever they can in order to avoid having to pay overtime if it can be helped. They don’t like to pay out overtime for those extra hours, and if they have someone that they answer to, those people certainly are not a fan of them either. This is usually done by ensuring that the shifts are appropriately staffed, such that they do not have to risk paying an employee, particularly a salaried one, extra. This ends up being a win-win situation when it does work, as a salaried employee will not be made to work more hours than they are expected to, while the employer does not have to worry about paying out more money than they are expecting to.
Keeping a meticulous eye on the hours a person has worked over the pay period is a huge part of how employers manage overtime hours, as it not only lets them know that it’s happening, but it gives them a solid opportunity to find a solution for it. As an example, if they see that a salaried employee is specifically spending more time on your shift than other workers, the employer may want to inquire as to why that is. If it is a problem of a lack of staffing, this is something that can be solved by increasing staff for that shift. Another problem that could arise is the issue that there is simply too much to do on that shift. The employer may then, if possible, divert certain tasks to other shifts that do not have as much work on their plate. A failure to properly divert these tasks can often be one of the biggest reasons why a salaried employee has difficulties avoiding working overtime.