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Even salaried workers sometimes deserve overtime wages

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2024 | Employment Law

There are two main categories of employees in Florida. Many workers are hourly employees. They agree to an hourly rate of pay and receive variable amounts of compensation depending on how much they work in any given week.

Other workers are salaried employees who receive a set amount of compensation for the year spread across weekly or biweekly paychecks. Hourly workers largely understand that they are eligible for overtime pay. If they put in more than 40 hours of work, they should receive 150% of their typical hourly wage for that extra time. By contrast, many salaried workers are exempt from overtime rules. However, changing federal rules might make more workers paid on a salary basis eligible for overtime pay.

How have overtime rules changed?

Employers often rely on salaried workers to do whatever it takes to finish a project on time. That might mean staying late in the evenings or coming in on the weekends. Many times, workers may put in far more than 40 hours during busy seasons in their industry without ever seeing an increase in their pay.

Employers can exempt the employees from overtime rules provided that their salary conforms with federal standards. There is a minimum salary that a worker should receive if an employer does not intend to pay them overtime wages for extra work.

Since 2019, that minimum salary has remained stagnant at $35,568. A new final rule increases that minimum salary not once but twice between now and 2025. As of July 1st, workers should receive a minimum of $43,888 per year to be exempt from overtime pay requirements. Once 2025 begins, the minimum salary employers must pay to require uncompensated overtime increases to $58,656.

How this rule benefits employees

Obviously, companies that rely on a generous amount of worker overtime, like retail establishments that pay managers and assistant managers on a salary basis, may need to increase the salaries they offer their employees. Workers who put in long hours may soon be eligible for more pay.

Otherwise, the new final rule might protect a worker from needing to consistently stay late on weeknights or come in on the weekends. Some employers may try to manipulate their workers into working overtime without extra pay on a salary that does not meet the new minimum standard. Those workers may need to assert themselves, possibly by taking the matter to civil court.

A wage and hour claim brought against an employer could compensate an eligible for the time that they worked in excess of 40 hours for which they have not been paid. Employees who know their rights are harder for companies to take advantage of and manipulate. As such, tracking changes to wage and overtime laws can be beneficial for those who do not currently earn a particularly competitive salary.