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NYC Employment Lawyer > Blog > Unpaid Overtime > Do I Fall Under An Overtime Exemption?

Do I Fall Under An Overtime Exemption?


If you are an hourly employee, you are generally entitled to what is called time-and-a-half or overtime pay for every hour you work over 40. This means that if you make $15.00 per hour, you would receive 1.5 times that – $22.50 per hour – for hour #41 and so on. However, there are some classes of employees that are exempt from overtime pay, under both New York state and U.S. federal law, and when someone is new to their job, they may be unaware of that. If you are unsure as to your status, it is a good idea to do your due diligence to make sure that your employer is not taking advantage of you.

Two Tests For Exemption

Both the New York Labor Laws and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) specify overtime exemptions, which bar overtime pay for certain employees. There are two major tests one must meet in order to be declared exempt from overtime pay. One is salary based, meaning that if a person’s weekly salary is over a certain amount, they are exempt from overtime pay. The FLSA holds that a person must make at least $684 per week to qualify for a white-collar exemption, but it is crucial to keep in mind that that amount will be higher in New York State and City due to a higher minimum wage (the federal minimum wage as of this writing is $7.25 per hour; New York State’s minimum wage varies between $12.50 and $15.00 per hour depending on county).

The other test for overtime exemption is referred to as the duties test. If your duties at your job are of a certain nature, you will be classified as an executive, administrative, or professional employee, and will be exempt from overtime pay if your salary is high enough. For example, one qualifies for the executive exemption if their primary duties are “managing the enterprise,” and directly supervising at least two employees, if not more; they must also have the authority to hire and fire. These factors plus a salary meeting the amount required by New York law will lead to the employee being exempt.

Know Your Status

It is important that you are aware of your status with regard to overtime pay, because if you are not aware of you being non-exempt (and thus eligible to receive overtime pay), your employer may choose not to pay you the overtime you are owed. For example, there are a few exceptions to the standard exemptions – first responders, or professionals like paralegals and practical nurses are explicitly non-exempt under the FLSA, because while they might make enough money, they are still routinely vulnerable to exploitation.

If you believe that you are being routinely exempted from overtime pay when you should not be, your first step should be to file a complaint with your local office of the Department of Labor. The New York Department of Labor will attempt to broker a solution between you and your employer –  but if they are unsuccessful, you have the right to file suit against your employer in civil court. If you understand your status, you can accurately assess whether you have a claim or not – but having an attorney on your side can be a great help regardless.

Contact A New York Employment Lawyer Today

If you meet the tests laid out in New York and federal law, you are entitled to overtime pay, and you should receive it. If you are not being paid, you have the right to seek compensation from your employer. The New York City unpaid overtime attorneys at Mansell Law, LLC are well versed in these types of cases and are happy to try and assist you with yours. Contact our offices today at 646-921-8900 for a free consultation.



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