New York City Overtime Exemption Lawyer
Helping New Yorkers Who Are Not Getting the Overtime They Are Supposed to
Of the many ways employers find to underpay their employees, one of the most common is telling employees they are exempt from overtime because they are professional, executive or administrative employees. Professionals and upper-level management are expected to put in whatever time is required to get the job done, which frequently amounts to more than 40 hours a week. Not only are these employees not being paid overtime; they aren’t being compensated for extra hours at all.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and New York Labor Laws do indeed exempt such workers from the overtime (and minimum wage) requirement, but specific criteria must be met before these exemptions can be applied. Too often, people think that if they get paid a salary instead of an hourly wage, they must be exempt from overtime. But salary/pay is just one component of these so-called white-collar exemptions. Employees must meet both the salary test and the applicable duties test before they can be rightly considered exempt from overtime.
The Salary Basis Test
Under the FLSA, workers must earn at least $684 per week to qualify for the white-collar exemption. This amount was increased in 2020 from $455. In addition, New York has its own salary basis test for administrative and executive employees. Employees in New York City must earn $1,125 weekly to be overtime-exempt. This amount is tied to the New York minimum wage, which is considerably higher than the federal minimum. As the New York minimum wage increases, the salary basis test for qualifying administrative and executive employees in New York increases as well. Workers in Long Island and Westchester County must earn $975 a week in 2020 and $1,125 weekly starting in 2022. For the rest of the state, exempt employees must be paid at least $885 in 2020 and $937.50 starting in 2021.
The Duties Test
In addition to earning the appropriate salary, an exempt worker must also meet a duties test to be exempt. Administrative, executive and professional employees each have their own duties test, and the tests in New York vary somewhat from the tests that apply under the FLSA. Some of the hallmarks of an exempt employee are as follows:
Executive Employee – primary duty consists of management of the enterprise; customarily and regularly directs the work of two or more employers; has authority to hire or fire; employment recommendations are given particular weight; customarily and regularly uses discretion
Administrative Employee – primary duty consists of office or non-manual field work directly related to management policies or general operations; customarily and regularly exercises discretion and independent judgment; regularly and directly assists an employer, executive or administrator
Professional Employee – primary duty requires advanced knowledge in a field of science or learning customarily acquired through a prolonged course of specialized study, or whose work is original and creative in a recognized field of artistic endeavor and produces a result that depends primarily on the employee’s talent or imagination; work requires consistent exercise of discretion and judgment; work is predominately intellectual and varied in character (not routine mental, manual, mechanical or physical work)
Other Exempt Employees – Workers in Computer-Related Occupations
This exemption typically applies to people such as computer programmers, systems analysts, and software engineers. Not everyone who works with computers or IT is exempt, and this exemption is frequently misunderstood and misapplied. An exempt worker must be paid on a salary basis of $684 per week or $27.63 an hour, and their primary duty must meet the applicable criteria for exemption.
Other Exempt Employees – Outside Sales Persons
Employees who qualify for this exemption have making sales, taking orders or securing contracts as their primary duty, i.e., their main or most important duty. They must also customarily and regularly work outside of the employer’s place of business. Exempt outside salespersons could still be entitled to overtime for promotion work, depending on whether the promotion work is performed in conjunction with solicitations or sales or merely incidental to sales.
Make Sure You Are Paid Regular and Overtime Wages When They Are Due – Call Our New York Employment Lawyers Today
Every option for an overtime exemption is an opportunity for an employer to unintentionally or deliberately misapply the exemption to an employee. If you aren’t getting overtime because your employer tells you that you are exempt, don’t just take their word for it. If you think you are unfairly or improperly being exempted from overtime pay and being forced to work without compensation, call Mansell Law in New York City for a free consultation with an experienced and knowledgeable New York City overtime exemption lawyer.