Under both the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and other federal laws applicable to public works projects, employers must pay overtime to employees who work in excess of 40 hours per week. However, FLSA regulations exempt certain kinds of jobs from the overtime pay laws if:
• The employees are paid on a “salary basis” and receive at least a prescribed minimum salary; and
• They meet special duty criteria established by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
Executive employees, professionals, and administrative employees may be classified as exempt from federal overtime requirements if paid on a salary basis.
Warning: The salary level test, the salary basis test, and the duties tests must be met for an employee to be exempt from overtime requirements. Failure to meet the salary basis requirement, for example, by making impermissible deductions will negate an employee's or group of employees' exempt status. Such employees may sue for retroactive overtime pay. In addition, some salaried employees are entitled to overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek. Whether an employee is entitled to time-and-one-half for overtime will depend not only on whether he or she is paid on a salary basis but also on whether he or she meets all other exemption requirements, especially the duty criteria.