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Overtime for salaried employees

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Question: I understand that salaried employees are expected to work unpaid/uncompensated overtime. I computed my regular work hours and overtime hours for last year and discovered I had worked a period equivalent to more than 13 months of business days in a 12-month business year.

In the business world, in general, how much overtime is expected of a lower-level, salaried secretary? I want to be known as a team player, but don't want the business to take advantage of my goodwill.  -- Anonymous


Comments

How you get paid (salaried or by the hour) does not determine where or not you are eligible for overtime. There are specific criteria that need to be meet in order to be an exempt employee. From the sounds of it, "lower level" secretary, you probably don't meet the criteria. You should be compensated for any hours you work in a week over 40. You can call your regional Department of Labor office and make an anonymous inquiry. Your employer could be in serious violation of labor laws and you'd be entitled to back pay.

Only employees that are considered "exempt" under the Fair Labor Standards Act are expected to work overtime without pay. In my company, all administrative staff, no matter what their pay (which is usally salaried) are considered non-exempt. I suggest you make sure you qualify if that is how your company has filed your position. Check out the website for more info and the Dept. of Labor also has a tollfree help-line.

http://www.dol.gov/esa/regs/compliance/whd/fairpay/fs17c_administrative.htm

If Patrice's advice turns out "not to be the case", I would suggest you speak with your Supervisor about this concern.

I previously had worked for a company as an assistant and put in many hours as a salaried employee also. However, over the years it came to be an advantage for me, as I got promoted very quickly.

Just keep that in mind.

I am surprised as a lower-level secretary that you are considered Exempt. I do not know what your job description covers but I have worked in HR and have been an Executive Assistant and now Sr. Assistant and am considered non-exempt due to my job description. I worked ALOT of overtime hours as and Executive Assistant and thank goodness was non-exempt to get the overtime rate. With my job now I am still non-exempt but rarely have to work overtime.

I would ask for a copy of my job description from your HR department. You have the right to look at your personel file at any time if you ask to see it. Sometimes companies have not reviewed their exempt, non-exempt guidelines therefore have not changed your status. There are guidelines that cover each and by looking at your job description you, yourself may be able to tell whether you should still be considered exempt from overtime. It could be a good way to bring up all the hours worked and have your position
re-evaluated at the same time.

Do you ask for overtime and are you refused your request, or do you just work the hours hoping that someone will notice? If you don't ask for the hours, you should begin to do so. I used to supervise an area where some of the people had different hours than I. If they stayed late, I didn't know unless they notified me. If you work over 40 hours, you should be paid for it.

I agree with Lisa and Patrice, you need to check your state's labor laws. There were some recent changes regarding this very issue. You need to be sure that what they are doing is legal. If it is, then I would take my salary and then figure out how much you make per hour based on the number of nonpaid ot hours you work. Show this to your supervisor and explain that with all of the unpaid time that you work you are no longer making what you should and let her know that you would like to be compensated appropriately. I had a friend who (not an Admin) was an exempt employee and she figured that with all of the nonpaid hours she worked she was making $5 an hour. She showed this to her manager who lightened her workload. Be professional if you have to take this route and remember, you are entitled to be paid what you are worth, if they can't or won't do that then find someone who will.

I agree with Lisa and Patrice, you need to check your state's labor laws. There were some recent changes regarding this very issue. You need to be sure that what they are doing is legal. If it is, then I would take my salary and then figure out how much you make per hour based on the number of nonpaid ot hours you work. Show this to your supervisor and explain that with all of the unpaid time that you work you are no longer making what you should and let her know that you would like to be compensated appropriately. I had a friend who (not an Admin) was an exempt employee and she figured that with all of the nonpaid hours she worked she was making $5 an hour. She showed this to her manager who lightened her workload. Be professional if you have to take this route and remember, you are entitled to be paid what you are worth, if they can't or won't do that then find someone who will.

I agree with Lisa and Patrice, you need to check your state's labor laws. There were some recent changes regarding this very issue. You need to be sure that what they are doing is legal. If it is, then I would take my salary and then figure out how much you make per hour based on the number of nonpaid ot hours you work. Show this to your supervisor and explain that with all of the unpaid time that you work you are no longer making what you should and let her know that you would like to be compensated for accordingly. I had a friend who (not an Admin) was an exempt employee and she figured that with all of the nonpaid hours she worked she was making $5 an hour. She showed this to her manager who lightened her workload. Be professional if you have to take this route and remember, you are entitled to be paid what you are worth, if they can't or won't do that then find someone who will.

I am glad to hear that someone has brought this subject to light. I admit that I wasn't sure what the distinction of "exempt" and "non exempt" is. Last year, I kept up with my hours because I had both been absent a few days when I was in the hospital yet I had also worked a lot of overtime. I wanted to make sure that I was giving the company every hour I should have and also know just how much overtime I had logged. Even discounting each hour I had been out, I had more than three weeks (40 hours per) of overtime for the 2004. It really makes the per hour wage look pitiful when you average it out. I plan to put some of all your advice to work for me whenever it's time for our annual evaluation for raises. Thanks to all of you.

I would like to be anonymous.I agree with the others. You should compare your job description with state & federal labor law. You should then discuss your situation with your boss and get an adjustment in income. If this doesn't work, you should go to your State Labor Board & file a complaint. It is strictly illegal not to pay overtime to non-exempt employees, which you are. In a very few instances, in large companies, the President's Secretary because of her high salary and extensive professional job duties, is Exempt, but the vast majority of office support personnel are non-exempt.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

claude sigley August 9, 2011 at 9:54 am

I am an exempt employee supposedly. I perform the function of software testing, I have 1 exempt employee working for me. We have to submit leave for anytime missed. Our work week is 37.5 hours, we get 180 hours a year vacation time and we get about 150 hours a year sick time and 40 hours paid holidays. I worked 241 hours of overtime this past year. What is the standard a professional will give for overtime before recognition is recieved for the ffort

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