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Is your job exempt from overtime pay, pt. 1?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (or "FLSA") establishes many minimum standards for workers' rights. Among these standards is mandatory minimum and overtime pay. The minimum wage, depending on your job, is typically $7.25. Overtime generally activates when you work either (a) more than eight hours in a single shift or (b) more than 40 hours in a week. But, these rules are not monolithic. Certain jobs are exempted from these requirements. This article will go over some of the jobs that are exempted.

The government tries to come up with a comprehensive list of jobs that are exempted from overtime. Most of the time this list works out well, and people fit into these neat categories. But now and then, especially at small companies, people wear multiple hats, and it's difficult to nail down if they are exempted or not. The following jobs are exempted from both minimum wage and overtime pay:

  • Newspaper delivery workers and those involved in small newspapers or switchboard operators of small telephone companies.
  • Workers involved in fishing operations or seamen employed on foreign vessels.
  • Professional, executive or administrative employees (typically employees that take salaries). This includes academic and education personnel and some computer professionals.
  • Some employees that work in seasonal or recreational establishments. However, this is tempered by state and local law.
  • Companions for the elderly or infirm.
  • Casual babysitters.
  • And, workers laboring on small farms (those that use less than 500 "man-days" in a single calendar year).

The law tries to pigeonhole jobs into neat categories, but the reality is much more complicated. If you believe that your employer improperly classified your position to avoid paying you overtime, then you may have a valid claim. Speaking with an attorney can help clarify your rights and determine the best strategy, be it informal negotiations or formal litigation. If you are not exempted from overtime, then you may be entitled to back-pay.

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