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Non-exempt employee - no overtime? bonuses? California

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  • Non-exempt employee - no overtime? bonuses? California

    I'm seeking some clarification about my new job!

    I've been told I'm a non-exempt employee; but I was also told information that suggests I'm an exempt employee: expectations to work late hours and weekends during busier times (which is fine), but no overtime pay; and that I pretty much set my own schedule and will have a base pay of __, 000 per year. There's also bonuses in January, which will be additional to that base salary.

    So far, I've been treated as an exempt employee, and I'm free to go and stay depending on the workload; non-exempt staff (usually receptionist/secretary level) at this company have set hours in their schedule, they clock in/out, and aren't allowed to work overtime without prior written approval, whereas other exempt employees (and I) have flexibility with our hours and sometimes leave earlier, or stay later.
    • I'm guessing they meant I was "exempt" but accidentally said "nonexempt"? Or is it possible that non-exempt employees are compensated through bonuses rather than overtime pay? I'd appreciate any clarity on this matter!
    • Also, please feel free to advise me on any issues that you think I should be aware of.


    Thanks!

  • #2
    There is a federal law called FLSA which establishes minimum wage and overtime rules. Any employee who is subject to these rules is called "non-exempt". Any employee without exception can be treated as non-exempt. Microsoft could treat Bill Gates as non-exempt if they wanted to.

    The reverse is not true. There are something like 100 or so Exempt classifications defined in the FLSA law. When we say that someone is Exempt we are saying that they qualify for one of these specific Exempt classifications and that the rules associated with that particular classification override the normal MW/OT rules. If for example you were Exempt under the Sheepherder exception, you would not be subject to the normal OT rules but would still be subject to the normal MW. Saying someone is Exempt by itself is inadequate. It is necessary to know which specific Exempt exception is in play. Exempt classification is a function of your exact job duties and sometimes your industry. Which we do not yet know.

    There is nothing in the FLSA law which says exempt status has anything to do with how many hours the employee must worked or which allows the employee to set their own schedule.
    Last edited by DAW; 09-23-2012, 06:16 AM.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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    • #3
      Das ist in der Doktor!

      This might help.
      http://www.dir.ca.gov/
      http://www.dol.gov/compliance/guide/minwage.htm

      Have you asked for clarification form HR or Payroll ? Perhaps someone said one thing but was thinking something else, it happens.
      I'd go back and ask them.
      ..__________________
      ~ If you would avoid suspicion,
      do not lace shoes in melon field.~ Chinese proverb
      Last edited by drruthless; 09-23-2012, 04:40 AM.

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      • #4
        Non-exempt folks generally speaking are in positions which offer less autonomy, but that is not a part of the law. It tends to be more a matter of job functions. A receptionist who comes and goes as she pleases is a problem, but many others who are designated non-exempt can enjoy more freedom in their work hours. It does not change their status. Neither does offering a bonus. Payroll will hate life, but it is totally legal.

        If you are non-exempt, you must be paid OT for greater than 40 hours in a week. Whether you must get those hours pre-approved is up to company policy, not law.

        I suggest asking your supervisor if you are unsure about your schedule or OT. Could be that they misspoke. Could be that you are not doing something you should be doing. You won't know until you ask.
        I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ElleMD View Post
          If you are non-exempt, you must be paid OT for greater than 40 hours in a week. Whether you must get those hours pre-approved is up to company policy, not law.
          Since this is Ca., OT needs to be paid also for work in excess of 8 hrs. in a day.....

          Hours worked in excess of 8 in a day or 40 in a wk. & the 1st 8 hrs. worked on the 7th day of work in a given work week must be paid at the rate of not less than 1 1/2 times the regular rate of pay. Hours worked in excess of 12 in one day as well as hrs. worked in excess of 8 on any 7th day of a workweek must be compensated at the rate of not less than twice the regular rate of pay. (This info would not apply when working an alternative workweek.)
          (Once an hr. has been counted as a daily OT hr., it is not eligible toward weekly OT.)
          Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

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