Salaried Employee Rights & Working on Days Off

by David Weedmark - Updated November 02, 2018
It's just another day in the office

If you are a salaried employee, you are generally exempt from state and federal laws regarding the payment of overtime wages. However, if you are not exempt from overtime laws, you should expect to be paid for any time you work that exceeds what is in your employment contract.

Tips

  • In most cases, salaried employees are not required to be paid additional wages for working on what would otherwise be a day off.

Defining Salaried and Exempt Employees

The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act dictates which employees are considered salaried and which are exempt from overtime laws. A salaried employee is anyone who receives the same salary every week, or less often, regardless of how many hours are worked, provided some work is done that week. However, not all salaried employees are exempt from being paid overtime.

To be exempt from federal laws on overtime, a salaried employee must be paid at least $455 for each week worked. Teachers, outside sales employees, as well as anyone practicing medicine or law, are also exempt, regardless of how much they are paid.

Pay for Working on a Day Off

Federal law does not require an employer to pay an exempt salaried employee for working late, coming in early, working weekends or for working on any day that he was scheduled to be off. Of course, employers may decide to pay these employees for extra work, but this is strictly voluntary unless extra pay for these circumstances has already been included in the worker's employment contract.

If an employee is paid a salary but does not qualify as an exempt employee, like those earning less than $455 per week in 2018, then the employer must pay for overtime. This, however, can vary depending on the salaried employee laws in your state.

In Wisconsin, hourly employees are normally paid time and a half (150 percent of the normal pay) for each hour worked above 40 hours. In the case of a non-exempt salaried employee, normal working hours are determined by the contract. For example, if the employment contract states that a normal work week is 50 hours, then the salaried employee would not have to be paid overtime until he has worked 51 hours. If the employee received $400 per week based on 50 hours, the hourly rate would work out to be $8 per hour. Because the salary covers all hours worked already, the employee would receive an additional $4 per hour for overtime, which is 50 percent of the hourly rate.

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In California, non-exempt salaried employees should be paid overtime for any hours they work over 40 each week. The overtime rate is 150 percent of what their pay would work out to be in a 40-hour work week.

Deducting Wages From Salaried Employees

With few exceptions, primarily related to public sector workers, employers cannot deduct pay from an employee's paycheck for missing partial days. This includes salaried employees who leave work early, or arrive late, due to a sickness or a personal appointment.

There are occasions when an employer can deduct pay when a salaried exempt employee misses a full day of work. This includes anyone missing work for personal reasons outside of being sick or injured. If the exempt employee is away because of a sickness or disability and the employer has a benefits plan to compensate her, the employer doesn't have to pay her for those days, even if the benefits plan doesn't compensate her. Employers may also deduct pay from a salaried employee if she takes time off under the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act.

For specific information on salaried employee rights where you work, you should consult the appropriate department in your state as well as the United States Department of Labor.

About the Author

A published author, David Weedmark has advised businesses on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years and used to teach computer science at Algonquin College. He is currently the owner of Mad Hat Labs, a web design and media consultancy business. David has written hundreds of articles for newspapers, magazines and websites including American Express, Samsung, Re/Max and the New York Times' About.com.

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