If you’re currently employed in California or Massachusetts, are you wondering why you’re not receiving overtime pay like some of your coworkers? Workers are protected by federal and state employment laws that dictate who is, or is not, eligible for overtime pay when working more than 40 hours in a work week, or over 8 hours in a workday. Under federal law, one of the main determining factors for overtime pay is a worker’s job exemption status under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The Fair Labor Standards Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) of 1938 established federal labor laws that protect a worker’s rights by requiring their employer to track their work hours, provide them with rest breaks, pay them at least a minimum wage, and pay them time and a half for working more than 40 hours in a work week. Most jobs are governed by FLSA regulations, but not all. Worker exclusions under the FLSA include ones specifically listed in the statute itself.
Another way that a job is excluded from FLSA regulations is if falls under protections afforded by another federal labor law. For example, most railroad workers are protected under the Railway Labor Act, and many truck drivers are protected by the Motor Carriers Act.
All employees who fall under FLSA protections are then subdivided into two groups: “exempt” or “non-exempt”. Non-exempt workers are eligible for overtime pay when they exceed 40 hours within a 7-day period, or 8 hours in a workday, while exempt workers are not.
To be considered exempt under federal law, an employee must meet all three of these job requirements:
● Be paid at least $455 per week ($23,600 per year)
● Be paid on a salary basis, or paid a guaranteed minimum amount of money
● Perform exempt job duties according to FLSA definitions
Individual states can pass their own labor laws as-long-as they meet the minimum FSLA requirements.
Overtime Laws in California
In California, the largest group of exempt employees includes executive, professional and administrative workers who earn at least twice the state minimum wage of $11 or $12 an hour; a figure that’s based on the total number of employees. In addition, an employer cannot bi-pass the law by simply having you sign a contract stating that you are an exempt employee, or by paying you a salary instead of an hourly wage.
Under California’s labor laws, these jobs are classified as exempt and are not required to receive overtime pay:
● Registered nurses
● Computer software professionals
● Licensed medical doctors and surgeons
● Administrative, professional and executive employees (Also known as the “white-collar exemption)
On the other hand, if you are a non-exempt employee as defined under California law, your employer must pay you time and a half if you work more than 8 hours in a workday, or more than 40 hours in a work week.
Overtime Laws in Massachusetts
Under Massachusetts state labor laws, individuals employed in bona fide executive, outside sales, professional or administrative capacities who also pass what’s called a “salary level test” are considered exempt under the law’s overtime pay provisions.
To be considered an exempt employee, you must pass these three tests:
● Duties Test
● Salary Level Test
● Salary Basis Test
An individual employed as an outside sales representative only needs to qualify for the duties test provision to be considered exempt.
As a white-collar employee, to be considered exempt under Massachusetts labor laws you must:
● Perform certain types of work
● Be typically paid on a salary basis
● Receive a specified minimum amount of salary
If you are a salaried employee, to qualify for exempt status you must be paid a predetermined amount each pay period, and that amount cannot be reduced because of a change in the quantity or quality of the work you perform. If you are a non-exempt employee, under current Massachusetts labor laws your employer must pay you one and a half times your regular pay rate if you work more than 40 hours in a work week.
We Represent Clients in Employment and Labor Disputes
If you are currently a non-exempt employee in California or Massachusetts who feels like you’re not receiving the overtime pay you deserve, or a worker whose employer has willfully misclassified your employment status, you have rights under the law.
Contact the Law Offices of Forrest LaMothe today, for a free consultation. One of our experienced attorneys will be happy to answer any questions you might have. To speak to an attorney in California or Massachusetts, call us toll free at 877-599-8890, or visit: www.forrestlamothe.com now.