Overtime Trap - Employer beware

Employment laws usually favor employees. This is especially true in dealing with overtime. Employees are presumably "non-exempt" and get overtime pay for working more than 40 hours in a single work week. The pay rate for overtime work must be at least 1.5 times the regular pay. This overtime must be in wages, not benefits such as stock options, company vehicle use, or meals.

"Exempt" employees must be salaried and have direct managerial oversight over other employees. They must be able to make significant decisions for the company. Hiring and firing employees, disciplining employees, authority to buy and sell company equipment are typical signs of an exempt employees.  Without these attributes, the employee is "non-exempt."

The definitions are not clear. For example, a salaried confidential assistant to a company president, depending on the circumstances, may be exempt. But, a similar assistant may be non-exempt and entitled to overtime.

Note: Even if an employee voluntarily works more than 40 hours, that does not eliminate the right to overtime pay.


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