If your employer incorrectly categorizes you as an exempt employee, you could miss out on significant overtime pay. In New York, workers must receive 1.5 times their normal hourly rate for every hour they work over 40 hours a week.
Review the federal and state overtime regulations and learn whether you should qualify for extra pay for extra hours.
Exempt vs. nonexempt employees
The Fair Labor Standards Act generally categorizes the following roles as exempt employees:
- Highly compensated workers, defined as those who earn $684 a week or more
- Outside sales representatives
- Computer and IT professionals
- Professional, administrative and executive employees
- Interns and volunteers
- Cab drivers
- Individuals who work for certain nonprofit or religious organizations
- Camp counselors
These employees do not receive overtime pay. When an employee disagrees with his or her classification, the administrative duties test determines the correct categorization. The worker passes the exemption test only if his or her primary duty requires independent judgment about important matters while performing office work that supports the company’s general business and management operations.
Eligible overtime hours
In addition to the requirement of increased overtime pay for covered employees who work more than 40 hours, household employees who live in the home should receive overtime for all hours exceeding 44 hours a week. For farmworkers, the overtime threshold is 60 hours in a calendar week or any hours on the seventh consecutive day worked.
The law does not require employers to pay overtime for rest days, holidays or weekends unless the worker exceeds 40 hours for the week on one of those days. Similarly, night work does not automatically constitute overtime pay.
Employees who think their employer has misclassified them as exempt can pursue a legal claim for back wages and other damages. They can either file a lawsuit independently or file a complaint with the Secretary of Labor for monetary damages. These regulations do not apply to federal, state or local government employers.