Labor Laws Involving Salary Vs Hourly Employees

salary vs hourly pay laws

For example, “outside sales” employees are exempt (“inside sales” employeesare nonexempt). For most employees, however, whether they are exempt or nonexempt depends on how much they are paid, how they are paid, and what kind of work they do.

salary vs hourly pay laws

For example, if you are paid on a salary basis, you get paid the same if you work 10, 30, 39, 40, or 46 hours per week . You must be paid more than $913 per week 47,476 per year) for retained earnings your salary to satisfy the “salary basis” part of the test for overtime exemption. (See questions 7-26 below for more information.) These values will go into effect December 1, 2016.


For a full description of salary and overtime exemptions, visit theU.S. Salaried positions may include roles like managerial jobs along with professional roles such as accountants, engineers, and marketing professionals. Often times, salaried roles accompany a benefits package inclusive of retirement matching in a 401k or 403b account, paid time off and short term disability. Benefit packages vary from position to position and company to company.

Wage and hour laws are laws that govern the wages rates an employer can pay its employees and the hours for which an employer must compensate its employees. The most well-known wage and hour laws are minimum wage laws and overtime laws. Tipped employees are entitled to an employer-paid wage of at least $2.13 per hour; more if the tips don’t total $5.12 per hour since they are still required to earn a minimum amount equivalent to the federal minimum wage of $7.25. For an employer to legally employ the tip credit they must follow a set of rules involving disclosures to the employee. Those who fail to make the appropriate disclosures may be required to pay the federal minimum wage in addition to allowing them to retain all tips received. The employer must also make up any difference between the federal minimum wage and the sum of the employer-made wages and tips earned. The income of an hourly employee might be more vulnerable to changes.

Hourly employees who work less than 40 hours a week are classified as part-time workers. The employee must be responsible for supervising at least 2 other full-time employees. (Or as many part-time employees as it would take to equal two full-time equivalent employees).

The Fair Labor Standards Act has clear definitions of the requirements for someone to be considered exempt from overtime and being paid a salary is only part of it. This means that you may need to track the hours your employees are working, even if you pay them a salary, so that you can appropriately pay them overtime. Overtime calculations can also often be difficult to determine for salaried employees because they don’t have a standard per-hour pay rate. Their pay rate when converted to hourly could vary pay period to pay period. In general, an employee has to make at least $684 per week ($35,568 per year), be paid on a salary basis, and perform exempt duties that require discretion and independent judgment at least 50% of the time. If you take on managerial duties, for example, you’re probably exempt.

Can my employer deduct money from my salary without my permission?

Section 34 (1) of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act prohibits an employer from making deductions from an employee’s remuneration without the employee’s consent and if the deduction is required or permitted in terms of a law, collective agreement, court order or arbitration award.

If your company employs hourly workers on a part-time basis, you may not be required to provide certain benefits for those employees. Under the Affordable Care Act and the IRS, a full-time employee is one who works 30 hours per week or more, or 130 hours or more on average per month. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, which is the minimum pay required by law for hourly employees. Salaried employees, however, must be paid a minimum of $455 per week in order to qualify as exempt, which for a 40-hour workweek works out to $11.38 per hour.

It ensures that the duties for executive, administrative and professional workers align more closely tofederal overtime regulations, to make it easier for employers and employees to know whether a worker is exempt from overtime. Full-time, salaried employees are likely to get additional employment benefits such as health care, matching contributions to a 401 and paid vacation time. Even if a salaried job with benefits pays less than an hourly job, it could put you in a better financial position.

Employee Terminations & Offboarding Guide

Failure to do so can result in additional daily fines until the wage is paid in full. Since salaried workers are paid a flat rate, if they work more than 40 hours in a week, you will not need to pay them overtime. When employees are not paid for overtime work, you can offer them more flexible work hours, which is a draw to many workers.

In short, the FLSA requires that employers classify all positions as either exempt or non-exempt. Non-exempt employees are covered by provisions in the FLSA, and exempt employees are not. The laws governing salary vs. hourly and overtime are constantly changing. Both compensation types have their merits, but at day’s end, they end up costing the employer the same. If a business is at its start, hiring people by the hour can be a solution.

salary vs hourly pay laws

Salary range is typically determined by comparing the industry averages based on position type, level and location. Salaries are also related to your education, your previous experience and the amount of time you’ve worked for a company. Typically you can get better offers in areas with multiple vacancies for jobs similar to yours. Employers may need to convert their employees’ salary into an hourly rate to determine how a salary compares to hourly pay. This conversion is also useful to work out how much you should pay in overtime.

They must work in an executive, administrative, professional, computer, or external sales position. Employers compensate employees either by paying them anhourly wage or an annual salary. Identifying most professionally exempt employees is usually pretty straightforward and uncontroversial, but this is not always the case. Whether a journalist is professionally exempt, for example, or a commercial artist, will likely require careful analysis of just what the employee actually does. UpCounsel is an interactive online service that makes it faster and easier for businesses to find and hire legal help solely based on their preferences. We are not a law firm, do not provide any legal services, legal advice or “lawyer referral services” and do not provide or participate in any legal representation.

There are three typical categories of exempt job duties, called “executive,” “administrative,” and “professional.” Remember, regardless of your job title, your employer is required to pay you overtime unless they can satisfy the requirements of a salary test and a duties test.

Salary Vs Hourly: Everything You Need To Know

To satisfy the second prong of the executive duties test, you must customarily and regularly direct the work of at least two or more other employees or their equivalent. Has the authority to hire or fire other employees, or whose suggestions and recommendations as to the employment status of other employees must be given particular weight. This must be based on all the facts in a particular case, with income summary the major emphasis on the character of the employee’s job as a whole. Isolated or inadvertent improper deductions will not result in loss of the exemption if the employer reimburses the employee for the improper deductions. The views expressed on this blog are those of the bloggers, and not necessarily those of Intuit. Third-party blogger may have received compensation for their time and services.

This test isn’t quite as straightforward as the salary test, but it’s still important. You need to be sure that the employee you are hiring is performing at an Executive or Professional level if you plan to pay them salary. These employees should generally be making decisions for the business, supervising other employees, and/or managing departments.

Startups should either contact an experienced labor & employment lawyer or at the very least, review the DOL’s webpage. The DOL has fact sheets that give very basic information about the salary test and the duties test that must be salary vs hourly pay laws met in order to legally not have to pay a worker overtime or minimum wage. And with the FLSA having clear guidelines on which workers may be classified as exempt, hiring on an hourly basis is often a safer bet to ensure compliance.

If you need help with creating policies for hourly or salaried employees, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. Most have 14 years of legal service and have worked with small business to corporate. Their level of expertise ensures you the best and latest legal advice. The minimum wage is a legally mandated price floor on hourly wages, below which non-exempt workers may not be offered or accept a job. When you change a salaried employee to an hourly position, you will need to determine a new hourly wage, which may be lower than their old salary if they will work more overtime.

salary vs hourly pay laws

If your duties are not that of an exempt employee, an employer cannot evade overtime requirements by paying you a salary. If a position is not benefit-eligible for paid time off, you may only work 48 or 50 weeks in a year.

Similarly, paying an employee more than the guaranteed salary amount is not normally inconsistent with salary basis status, because this does not result in any reduction in the base pay. Particular jobs may be completely excluded from coverage under the FLSA overtime rules. For example, employees of movie theaters and many agricultural workers are not governed by the FLSA overtime rules. Another type of exclusion is for jobs which are governed by some other specific federal labor law. As a general rule, if a job is governed by some other federal labor law, the FLSA does not apply.

  • This site provides comprehensive information about job rights and employment issues nationally and in all 50 states.
  • The salary and salary basis requirements do not apply to bona fide teachers.
  • For example, A salesperson might earn a “base” salary that’s guaranteed and also earn commissions based on sales performance.
  • In the U.S., salaried and hourly employees receive a similar tax form from the Internal Revenue Service every year.
  • You must be paid more than $913 per week 47,476 per year) for your salary to satisfy the “salary basis” part of the test for overtime exemption.

It is meant to cover employees in these kinds of jobs whose work requires invention, imagination, originality or talent; who contribute a unique interpretation or analysis. The job duties of the traditional “learned professions” are exempt. These include lawyers, doctors, dentists, teachers, architects, clergy. There are three typical categories of exempt job duties, called “executive,” “professional,” and “administrative.”

The differences between salaried and hourly employees are outlined by different laws and policies. Employees are classified by salary versus hourly and by the kind of work they do. A salaried employee is defined as a worker who receives a fixed amount of compensation paid weekly, biweekly or monthly. Federal and state employment laws require a classification of salary or hourly. There are pros and cons to being hourly versus a salaried employee, but for the most part the latter enjoy more benefits, such as paid vacation and sick days, retirement accounts, and other employer-sponsored benefits. Hourly workers do not usually receive compensation in the form of paid leave by the companies who hire them and may be responsible for their own healthcare.

There can be disadvantages to salaried positions, such as demanding an employee to work more than 40 hours a week. Once a salary becomes accepted, renegotiating it becomes more difficult, and often an employee has to change positions to get a higher salary. Salaried workers are often exempt from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act. When laws change or the company goes through tough times, hourly employees often feel the impact first. It’s easier for an employer to knock off some of your hours until business improves than to eliminate an entire salaried position.

Journalists are not exempt creative professionals if they only collect, organize and record information that is routine or already public, or if they do not contribute a unique interpretation or analysis to a news product. The term “matters of significance” refers to the level of importance or consequence of the work performed. You are not considered to exercise discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance merely because your employer will experience financial losses if you fail to perform the job properly. The employee’s primary duty includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance. Job titles or position descriptions are not that useful in making this determination. (For example, a secretary is still a secretary even if she or he is called an “executive assistant”). It is the actual job tasks that must be evaluated (along with where and how the particular job tasks “fit” into the employer’s overall operations).

Other jobs, while governed by the FLSA, are considered “exempt” from the FLSA overtime rules. Remuneration is an employee’s total compensation, including base salary, bonuses, expense account reimbursements, and other financial benefits. Base pay is an employee’s initial rate of compensation, excluding extra lump sum compensation or increases in the rate of pay. In general, hourly employees will find it easier to separate home and work.

Author: Ken Berry