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Starting Dec. 1, more salaried workers will be entitled to overtime

Many people think salaried workers are not entitled to overtime. This is not the case.

Some workers who receive salaries are entitled to overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a week. Under new rules from the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of salaried workers entitled to overtime pay will rise by millions starting Dec. 1.

When can salaried employees receive overtime?

The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor Act, defines certain jobs as "exempt" from the requirement to pay overtime. Examples of exempt positions include managerial, professional and administrative employees who are paid a salary above a certain level. Highly compensated employees are also exempt from the overtime requirement.

In the past, managerial, administrative and professional employees had to be paid a salary of at least $23,600 to be considered "exempt." Starting Dec. 1, the figure will rise to $47,476 annually. The definition of highly compensated employee will change from someone earning at least $100,000 a year to $134,004 a year. The income levels will be adjusted every three years.

As a result of the rule change, millions of American workers who were not eligible for overtime in the past will be eligible starting Dec. 1. Overtime pay is equal to one-and-one-half times your regular pay.

How are managerial, administrative and professional positions defined?

The U.S. Department of Labor uses a number of factors to determine whether to classify a position as exempt (meaning the worker is not entitled to overtime pay) or nonexempt (meaning they are).

Employers sometimes misclassify workers as exempt to avoid the requirement to pay overtime. However, simply giving a person an exempt job title such as "manager" or "administrative assistant" does not mean the worker is exempt. It is the worker's job duties that determine whether they are exempt or nonexempt.

The differences between exempt and nonexempt job duties are subtle, and only an experienced employment law attorney can advise you if you should be receiving overtime pay.

Can I sue my employer for not paying overtime?

If your employer did not pay you overtime pay when it was required, you have the right to recover double the amount of pay you are owed. In some cases, you can also recover attorney fees.

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