Employment Law

Overtime Pay: What’s Legal & What’s Not in Florida featured image

Overtime Pay: What’s Legal & What’s Not in Florida

One of the numerous benefits we all enjoy as workers in the United States is that we are protected by a myriad of state and federal laws that exist to ensure we are being treated fairly by our employers. Specifically, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to provide overtime wages when the workweek exceeds 40 hours. While there are exceptions to the overtime provisions of the FLSA, employers often claim an exception for an employee when none actually exist.

Sometimes, the error is an honest one; however, employers may also intentionally misclassify an employee in order to avoid paying the additional wages required for overtime work under the FLSA. Because the line between exempt and non-exempt isn’t always crystal clear, it’s best to consult with a Tampa overtime lawyer if you’re unsure of how you should be classified.

In this guide, we’ll be going over which types of employees can be legally classified as exempt, additional commonly claimed exceptions, and what legal options you have if your employer has erroneously claimed you as an exemption. For more information, please get in touch with a Tampa unpaid wages attorney.

Related: Understanding Overtime Laws and Your Employment Contract

Compensation Requirements

Generally speaking, employees are exempt from the FLSA’s overtime requirements if they meet the following conditions:

  • The employee is paid on a salary basis (the “salary basis test”)
  • The employee is paid at least the minimum salary level (the “salary level test”)
  • The employee works in an executive, administrative, or professional capacity as established by the regulations (the “duties test”)

As of January 1, 2020, an employee must be paid  $35,568 per year ($684 per week) in order to be classified as exempt from the overtime requirements. This means that employees who make less than $35,568 per year would automatically be eligible for overtime. Teachers and employees practicing law or medicine are exempt from the salary requirements.

Related: Smaller Paycheck Than Normal? Here’s the Most Common Ways an Employer May Shortchange You Out of Your Wages.

Executive Exemption

In order for an employee to qualify as exempt using the Executive exemption, the employee must pass all of the following tests:

  • The employee must be compensated on a salary basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $684 per week
  • The employee’s primary duty must be managing the enterprise or managing a customarily recognized department or subdivision of said enterprise
  • The employee must customarily and regularly direct the work of at least two or more full-time employees or their equivalent
  • The employee must have the authority to hire or fire other employees OR their suggestions and recommendations as to the hiring or firing of employees must be given particular weight

Administrative Exemption

For an employer to claim the Administrative exemption for an employee and avoid paying overtime wages, the employee must first pass all of the following tests:

  • The employee must be compensated on a salary basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $684 per week
  • The employee’s primary duty must be performing office or non-manual work directly related to the general business operations or management of the employer or employer’s customers
  • The employee’s primary duty must include the exercise of independent judgment and discretion with respect to matters of significance

Professional Exemption

The Professional exemption, for the purpose of avoiding overtime wages, is divided into two categories of professionals — learned and creative — each with its own criteria for applicability.

In order to qualify for the Learned Professional employee exemption, you must meet all of the following tests:

  • The employee must be compensated on a salary basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $684 per week
  • The employee’s primary duty must be performing work that is predominantly intellectual in character, requires the consistent exercise of judgment and discretion, and requires advanced knowledge
  • The advanced knowledge must be in field of science or learning
  • The advanced knowledge must be customarily acquired through a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction

To qualify for the Creative Professional employee exception, all of the following tests must be met:

  • The employee must be compensated on a salary basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $684 per week
  • The employee’s primary duty must be performing work requiring imagination, originality, talent, or invention in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor

Related: Creative Professionals and Overtime Exemptions

Commonly Used Exemptions

Three of the most commonly used overtime exemptions are Computer Related Occupations, Outside Sales, and Commissioned Sales People. Below, we’ve outlined the tests that must be passed in order for an employer to claim an exemption for an employee in any of these three occupations:

  • Computer Related Occupation: In addition to the salary requirements, the employee must be employed as a computer systems analyst, programmer, software engineer, or other similarly skilled worker in the computer field. Their primary duty must consist of working with computer systems or programs and machine operating systems, as well as applying systems analysis techniques and procedures.
  • Outside Sales: The employee’s primary duty must be making sales or obtaining orders or contracts for services or the use of facilities. As part of this duty, the employee must also be customarily and regularly engaged away from their employer’s place of business.
  • Commissioned Sales People: The employee must be employed by a retail or service establishment and have a rate of pay that exceeds one and one-half times the applicable minimum wage for every hour worked in a workweek in which overtime hours are worked. More than 50 percent of their total earnings in a representative period should also consist of these commissions.

Other commonly used exemptions include Seasonal Amusement or Recreational Establishment Employees, Agricultural Employees, and Motor Carrier Employees.

Have You Been Wronged By Your Employer?

If you believe your employer has improperly categorized you as exempt or otherwise failed to provide you with overtime wages, you have the right to file a complaint or pursue legal action against your employer. Your best plan of action is to contact one of our Tampa overtime lawyers as soon as possible to help you obtain rightful compensation for your treatment and loss of wages. We handle comprehensive areas of employment law and regularly stand up to powerful employers who violate the law.

If you would like to speak with a Tampa unpaid wages lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.