Wage and overtime law is complex, and it can be difficult for an employee to understand their rights without help. Sometimes employers use this lack of knowledge to their advantage, and they may pay their employees unfairly by taking improper deductions, paying less than the minimum wage, and quite commonly, failing to pay overtime. One common misunderstanding among workers in Texas is related to salaried employees. The Fair Labor Standards Act and the Texas Payday Act require employers to follow certain rules with regard to nonexempt workers, regardless of whether they are paid on a salary basis. If you believe you have received improper compensation as a salaried but nonexempt worker, you should contact the Austin wage law attorneys at Wiley Walsh, P.C.The Rights of Salaried Employees
Some employers tell employees that they are not entitled to overtime or other protections offered by wage and hour laws because they are salaried workers, and others simply do not provide the overtime compensation. Similar to these are employers that misclassify workers as "independent contractors" or "temporary workers" to avoid wage and hour laws because these laws only apply to employees.
You are considered to be paid as a salaried employee if you have a guaranteed minimum amount of money that you can count on receiving for a workweek in which you work for a particular employer. The amount may not be the total compensation that you receive, but it needs to be a reliable amount of money that you receive. Whether you are paid on a salary basis is not affected by whether the rate of pay is expressed in hourly terms or yearly terms, but by whether you have a guaranteed minimum.
However, simply receiving a salary does not necessarily mean that you are not entitled to minimum wage or overtime. In Texas, all employees are supposed to be paid overtime unless they are paid a minimum salary of $455 per workweek (more than $23,600 per year) and also perform job tasks that put them into a legally recognized exemption category. If the employer is not able to prove that you fall into a particular exemption, you may be entitled to overtime even though you are a salaried employee.
Most American workers are covered by federal overtime rules, including salaried workers and people in white-collar jobs. Small businesses in particular may pay workers improperly because of misunderstandings about the law. Generally, there are exclusions for jobs covered by another express federal labor law, as well as for outside salespeople, movie theater employees, and certain agricultural workers.
Your job title does not determine whether you are an exempt employee. Whether you are exempt is determined on a case-by-case basis. The exemptions are for employees who perform what is considered high-level work. The three categories of exempt job duties are administrative, executive, and professional. An executive employee's job duties are exempt when an employee regularly supervises two or more employees, manages as a primary duty of their job, and has true input into other employees' job status. Supervision needs to be a regular aspect of the job, rather than just a one-off, and it must be of other employees, rather than independent contractors or temporary workers. Management duties under the FLSA can include determining work techniques, choosing employees and training them, disciplining employees, setting pay rates, and maintaining production records. People who work in learned professions are exempt. These include lawyers, architects, clergy people, doctors, dentists, registered nurses, accountants, engineers who do work of the type usually performed by licensed professional engineers, scientists, actuaries, pharmacists, teachers, and people who perform work that requires advanced knowledge. The issue is whether the work involves judgment and discretion, necessitates specialized knowledge, and is mostly intellectual. Sometimes it is required to look carefully at what you actually do to determine whether you fall into this exemption. Administrative job duties entail office and non-manual work that is directly related to an employer's business operations or its customers’ business operations or management, and a primary component of them involves using independent discretion and judgment about important matters. Simply relabeling a low-level clerical secretary as an administrative assistant would not make that worker exempt. This exemption is supposed to apply to a high-level employee whose main job is to keep the business going.Seek Guidance from a Dedicated Austin Lawyer
If you are a salaried employee who is concerned about wage and hour issues, you should consult our Austin attorneys. Wiley Walsh, P.C. represents people who need a FLSA lawyer or assistance in other employment claims in Austin, Georgetown, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Pflugerville, Leander, Del Valle, Kyle, San Marcos, San Antonio, New Braunfels, and Fredericksburg, among other cities. Call us at (512) 271-5527 or use our online form to set up your appointment.