The Fair Labor Standards Act and Kentucky’s Wage Payment statute both require that employees be paid overtime when they work over 40 hours in a week. The overtime premium is commonly referred to as “time and a half.”

Some employers pay their employees a salary (instead of being paid by the hour) and then tell the employees that “being salaried” makes them ineligible for overtime. This is false. Some employers tell their employees that the company gets to decide if the employee gets paid overtime. This is also false. Whether or not an employee is eligible for overtime pay is based only on the type of work she does – nothing else.

There are some people who do not have to be paid overtime. They include professionals who have advanced training or education in their field such as attorneys, doctors and engineers. Executives, like chief financial officers or the vice-president of human resources do not have to be paid overtime. Individuals who supervise at least two others – with the right to hire, fire, conduct performance evaluations, and discipline employees – are exempt from overtime pay. Salespeople who perform their sales work primarily outside of their employer’s office do not have to be paid overtime. Finally, some computer professionals are exempt from overtime pay.

Let’s look at an example. A school offering certificate programs (such as medical assistant, dental assistant, etc.) hires an admissions representative and pays him a salary of $28,000 per year. Maybe the school gives him an important sounding title, like Director of Admissions, Assistant Director of Admissions, or something similar. The admission representative works Monday through Friday from 8:30 – 5 with a half an hour off for lunch – for a total of 40 hours. But he must also work an eight-hour shift every other Saturday. He receives no additional compensation for the Saturday hours because he is salaried. The admissions representative does not supervise any employees. His job duties include calling potential students from a list that is provided to him. Once he reaches the potential student, he reads from a script that has also been provided to him. He is required to enroll any student who fits a certain set of admission requirements that have also been provided to him. Because this employee does not have specialized training, does not have any decision-making authority and does not exercise independent judgment, he must be paid overtime for the Saturday work.

If your job doesn’t fall into one of the “exempt” categories described above, you are likely eligible for overtime pay. If your employer fails to pay you overtime, it may be liable for the overtime pay that you should have earned, additional “liquidated” damages and your attorney fees and the costs associated with any litigation that is necessary to obtain your lawful pay.

Should you be paid overtime? Craig Henry PLC will review your job duties and help you answer this important question.

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