Hourly computer programmers and overtime pay

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

Q. We employ computer programmers who write sophisticated custom software programs for clients. We bill their services by the hour and pay them by the hour, based on their experience and the work involved. The hourly rates we pay range from $30 to $80 per hour. Sometimes, there is a rush on a project and the programmers have to work overtime. Do we have to pay time and a half the hourly rate if the programmers work over 40 hours per week?

A. Probably not. Pursuant to both the Fair Labor Standards Act and Colorado’s Minimum Wage Order No. 24, most employees must be paid time and a half unless they are exempt. Also, most exemptions require that the employee be paid on a salary basis and that he or she performs duties that fit within one of the exemptions (e.g., executive, administrative or professionals).

However, there is an exception to this general rule for highly skilled computer programmers, who can be paid hourly and still be considered exempt, as long as the hourly rate is at least $27.63.

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