Originally published in The Journal of South Mississippi Business - March 2013.
One of the often misunderstood rules about overtime pay requirements involves which employees can be classified as exempt from payment for overtime work, or time worked above 40 hours in a seven consecutive day work week. Employers might find helpful a brief discussion of the most common types of exemptions.
Exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act fall into five general categories: executive, administrative, professional, computer employee and outside sales. A sixth for highly compensated employees is really a refinement of the first three categories. This column will discuss the first three, which are the most common.
Exemptions from the right to overtime pay are strictly construed because they limit a right employees otherwise have to pay at time and one half their regular rate of pay for all time worked above 40 hours in a workweek. The most common error employers make is incorrectly classifying employees as exempt when their actual job duties and compensation do not qualify them to be exempt.
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