Should you be getting overtime?
3. The professional
exemption: This is "a pretty narrow exception to cover
people who have advanced degrees and some level of education,"
says Nierman. Usually, the education goes beyond a bachelor's
degree and includes other specialized study. Some of the jobs covered
include doctors, lawyers, engineers and professors.
4. The outside
sales exemption: If you are a sales person who is "customarily and
regularly" making sales away from your employer's office, you could be exempt
from overtime pay.
The inside (retail) sales exemption: If you're in a retail or service business
and make more than half of your salary from commissions, you could be exempt from
But this is "not applicable for people in the
financial service industry, like brokers or loan officers," says Borgen.
6. The computer
exemption: If your primary duty is the creation or architecture
of software, you could also be exempt. But if you spend time on
the computer testing or troubleshooting, rather than designing programs,
then the computer exemption probably wouldn't apply.
This is also one of the rare instances
where you can be paid hourly and still be exempt from overtime. But your hourly
rate must be at least $27.63, says Nierman.
The biggest problem
when it comes to overtime? Misclassification. Employees and employers believe
the worker falls into one of the exception categories when they don't.
Brush up on state laws governing overtime pay. Laws can vary
from state to state. While states may strengthen the federal standards that protect
employees, they can't weaken them.
One example: Federal law
says that to qualify for one of the exemption groups, your weekly salary has to
be at least $455. But some states may require a higher pay rate in order to be
Congratulations! Now what?
OK, you suspect that you should be receiving overtime. Now how do you get it?
a perfect world, you would go to your boss, remind him or her that you had been
overlooked and soon be presented with a check for all the uncompensated overtime
you've logged. The law says you're entitled to all the back pay you should have
received from the moment you were misclassified. And employers are not allowed
to punish, reprimand or fire you for requesting it.