Under federal and state law, North Carolina employers must pay an agreed upon wage for the hours worked. There are no federal or state regulations regarding how many hours an adult employee can work per day or week. However, if an employee works more than 40 hours in a workweek, s/he may be entitled to overtime pay.
It is important to note, however, that not everyone qualifies for overtime pay. Below, we explain the overtime rule on salary for exempt white-collar employees in North Carolina and whether you qualify.
How much must employees receive for overtime hours?
Overtime laws state that non-exempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a work-week (seven consecutive days) must receive not less than time and one-half their regular rate of pay. If you are paid on an hourly basis, your overtime rate is 1.5 times your hourly rate for each overtime hour worked.
I am a white-collar worker. Am I eligible for overtime?
Not all employees are eligible to receive overtime pay. The law classifies employees as exempt or nonexempt based on their wages, position titles, and job descriptions.
Non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). However, the law classifies many white-collar, salaried employees as exempt, meaning that their employer does not have to pay them more for working more than 40 hours a week. The FLSA offers various exemptions under which certain employees are exempt from overtime pay.
For an employee to be exempt, s/he must:
Earn a Salary
Salaried employees typically receive fixed payments at regular intervals. The FLSA requires that employees earn a minimum of $455 per week or $23,660 per year to qualify as exempt.
Work at a Certain Position and Perform Exempt Work Duties
There are certain professions that are generally exempt from overtime pay. These positions may fall under the following categories:
It is important to note that salaried employees do not automatically fall into one of these categories. In fact, there are many salaried employees that qualify for overtime pay based on the type of work they do. The job duties of the position play a critical role in determining an employee’s exemption status.
What types of work duties are exempt?
The type of work an employee does on a daily basis will also help determine whether s/he is exempt.
Executive Job Duties
In order for executive job duties to be exempt, the job must include:
Supervising two or more full-time employees on a regular basis
Generally, supervising two part-time employees will be equivalent to supervising one full-time employee.
Management as a primary part of the job
For executive positions, employees must do more than just supervise their employees. The employee’s main job role should be management. Management may include:
- Interviewing and hiring new employees
- Disciplining employees or handling employee complaints
- Planning and distributing workload among employees
- Handling company finances
Generally, if an employee is in charge of a department, the law will consider his/her duties exempt.
The ability to impact the job status of other employees
Lastly, the employee must have some say in the company’s personnel. These decisions involve the authority to hire, fire, promote, or otherwise impact the work lives of other employees. An employee who is not active in the day-to-day managing of others but makes executive decisions when necessary can also qualify as exempt.
Professional Job Duties
Generally, professional positions require some form of specialized education or training. While advanced degrees are not required, they can be a good way to determine if someone should be exempt under this category.
Professional job duties require employees to use their advanced knowledge to complete a variety of job-related tasks. In addition to traditional professional employees, creative professionals such as musicians, writers, actors, and composers can also be exempt.
Administrative Job Duties
According to the FLSA, to qualify for an administrative exemption, the position must:
- Involve office or “non-manual” work
- Be related to managing or operating a company
- Involve the independent discretion and judgment of the employee with regards to important business-related matters
The FLSA’s description of administrative duties is often the most unclear of all the categories. Many employers mistakenly believe that this exemption applies to all administrative positions.
As a result, many employers misclassify employees in lower-level administrative roles (e.g., secretaries, clerks) as exempt under this category. However, performing administrative tasks is not in itself enough to qualify an employee for exemption.
Phil Gibbons, Charlotte, NC employee rights lawyer, can help white collar employees recover unpaid overtime.
Every day, employers mistakenly classify non-exempt employees as exempt and fail to pay them what they are entitled to. Some employers fail to fully understand overtime laws and simply misinterpret them. Others purposely misuse the laws to take advantage of their employees. In any case, the employees are the ones who suffer.
Gibbons Leis, PLLC is on your side and willing to fight for you. The employment laws of this country give you the right to receive fair compensation for the work you do. We know it can be difficult to determine whether you are an exempt or non-exempt employee based on the FLSA.
Phil Gibbons can review your case and help determine your status. If you are a non-exempt employee who your employer misclassified as exempt, he will ensure your employer pays you the overtime pay you earned.
For more information and a free consultation, call704-612-0038 today.