Many people think all employees who are paid a salary are automatically not entitled to, or “exempt” from, overtime pay. However, this is not true in every situation. There are certain North Carolina overtime pay exemptions that all employees should know. Learn more about these exemptions below. If you have specific questions, contact Gibbons Leis, PLLC for help.

What is overtime pay?

Per the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), certain employees who work more than 40 hours in a work week are entitled to overtime pay. Under the FLSA, a work week is seven consecutive work days.

Overtime is one and a half times the employee’s pay.

Who is eligible for overtime pay?

The law categorizes all employees as “exempt” or “non-exempt.” Non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay, whereas exempt employees are not.

There are certain types of employees that are more likely to be non-exempt. Generally, employees who work long hours and are at risk of being overworked or exploited by their employers due to the nature of their positions are eligible for overtime. These employees are not exempt no matter how much they are paid.

For example, many non-exempt workers are in positions that require manual labor such as:

  • Construction workers
  • Mechanics
  • Plumbers
  • Cashiers
  • Factory workers
  • Craftsmen
  • Laborers
  • Motor Carrier

Other non-exempt employees include those who serve as first-responders, such as the following:

While overtime laws tend to protect blue-collar employees, there are some professionals who may be non-exempt including:

  • Practical nurses, nurses who receive hourly pay or “per visit” pay
  • Paralegals

Who is exempt from overtime?

Exemptions generally apply to white-collar employees who receive payment on a salary basis and perform exempt job duties. The worker’s on-the-job responsibilities and how they are paid will be the basis when evaluating whether an employee is exempt. Here are the main types of exemptions an employee can qualify for.

  • Executive: If an employee is primarily involved in the management or supervision of the company and/or multiple employees and makes a salary of at least $455 per week, s/he may fall under the executive employee exemption.
  • Administrative: Employees that make a minimum salary of $455 per week and are involved in general business operations and make significant work-related decisions can qualify under this exemption.
  • Professional: Employees exempt under this category must do work involving advanced knowledge and make at least $455 per week. Doctors, lawyers, teachers, and other jobs requiring advanced and specialized education typically qualify under this exemption. Creative professionals such as writers and musicians are also often included.
  • Computer Employee: Employees must make a minimum of $455 per week and be primarily responsible for the application, design, or development of computer systems or programs in order to be exempt.
  • Outside Sales: Employees exempt under this category must be responsible for making sales outside of the employer’s place of business.
  • Highly-compensated: Any employee who primarily performs non-manual labor and regularly performs at least one exempt administrative, executive, or professional duty, and makes $100,000 or more per year (including at least $455 per week on salary), can be exempt from overtime.

What if my employer does not pay me a salary?

Even if your job duties satisfy the exemption test for an executive, administrative, or professional employee, if you are not paid a salary of at least $455 per week, you might be entitled to overtime pay. Salary basis means that you get the same amount of money each week, regardless of the hours you work. Although the FLSA allows employers to make certain deductions from an employee’s salary, the FLSA does not permit employers to make deductions for partial day absences. If your salary is subject to partial-day deductions, you may be entitled to overtime pay for all hours worked in excess of 40.

Related: What Are The Meal And Rest Break Requirements For North Carolina Employees?

I am a non-exempt employee but my employer did not pay me for my overtime. What should I do?

Non-exempt employees should receive the overtime pay they deserve in the workplace. However, some employers violate North Carolina and federal overtime laws by misclassifying non-exempt employees as exempt or failing to pay a non-exempt employee the proper amount of overtime pay.

Overtime pay may not seem like such a big deal, but a few extra hours each week can really add up over time and result in a large amount of money. If a company violates overtime laws, they may even have to pay double the amount of overtime pay owed as a penalty.

By filing suit, you may be able to recover overtime pay and back pay from your employer. In addition to getting the money your employer owes you, you are sending a message and helping protect other employees from getting cheated out of their hard-earned money.

Related: How We Handle Your North Carolina Employment Law Case

Phil Gibbons, Charlotte, NC employee rights lawyer, can help you recover unpaid overtime.

Filing suit against your employer can be intimidating, but you are not alone. If you have not received your overtime pay, your employer has violated your rights. Phil Gibbons has years of experience protecting workers all over North Carolina. Our team can help you file a claim against your employer and get your money back.