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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.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jean August 31, 2015 at 9:45 am

Recently this came up where I work. I am a professional, but get paid by the hour as a consultant – (my hourly rate exceeds $30/hr) – so the company is exempted from paying time and a half. I’m fine with that as I make a nice income. I would like to make an agreement with my client to allow me to legally bank hours I work over 40 to use against holidays and days off as I do not receive pay for those times and have to take a hit in my paycheck. I do work OT from time to time and report those hours, but would much rather be able to carry over those hours to days when I need or want to be off. Is there a legal precedent for this? Could this be included in my work contract? I do not want to get the client in trouble and fully agree to the arrangement, but I’m being told they can’t do this and I must charge them for every hour I work within a given pay period.


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