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Overtime pay: Who is eligible and who’s exempt?

On Behalf of | Jan 5, 2024 | Employment Law |

If you’re an employee in New Jersey, you might be questioning your eligibility for overtime pay. Overtime is the additional compensation you’re entitled to when working more than the standard 40-hour workweek. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), you should receive a rate of one and a half times your regular pay for those extra hours. This is a standard upheld by both New Jersey and New York.

If you’re not receiving the overtime pay you’ve earned, it’s possible your employer is violating your rights.

Who doesn’t get overtime pay?

Not all workers are entitled to overtime pay. The FLSA exempts specific salaried roles, typically those with significant job responsibilities. For instance, if you are in an executive, administrative or professional position and earn above $35,568 annually with substantial decision-making authority, you may fall under the exempt category and not qualify for overtime pay. However, an executive role must include managerial authority over staff or business operations to be exempt.

In addition to the professions mentioned, the law exempts other specific roles, such as:

  • Certain computer professionals (e.g., systems analysts, programmers and software engineers)
  • Outside sales workers
  • Police, firefighters, paramedics and other first responders

As of now, the FLSA sets the exemption threshold at $35,568 per year or $684 per week. The Department of Labor has proposed a threshold increase to $1,059 per week, which amounts to approximately $55,000 per year. It’s essential to keep these changes in mind, as they may affect exemption status.

But who qualifies for it?

Nonexempt employees typically qualify for overtime. This group includes hourly workers, service industry staff, manual laborers and particular office and technical personnel. To be nonexempt, you usually earn below the salary threshold or perform non-managerial duties.

Even salaried, you might be eligible for overtime if your job duties don’t involve substantial managerial responsibility. It’s not job titles but the actual nature of your work and your compensation structure that determine your overtime eligibility.

Understanding your compensation

Overtime rates can differ due to specific industry regulations. These details can be complex and not always straightforward. If you find these laws confusing or believe your overtime rights are being overlooked, you should consider consulting with an employment law attorney. They can help protect your rights and ensure you receive the pay you’re owed.