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If 'exempt,' you're exempt from overtime pay

August 19, 2007|From Newsday

Can "exempt" employees be compelled to work double shifts without extra compensation? Are those employees covered by a night-shift differential?

Many managers are shocked at what their exempt status entails.

If you are exempt, your company can generally ask you to work any number of hours without paying you for the extra time. And when you work more than 40 hours in a week, the company doesn't have to pay you overtime. It can opt to pay overtime, but by law it doesn't have to.

The key is to find out whether you indeed fall into one of the exempt categories, which include the executive, professional, administrative and outside-sales categories. Your company couldn't declare you exempt without making sure your job meets certain tests.

For example, if it considers you a manager, which would put you in the executive category, you have to make at least $455 a week, management must be your primary duty, you have to supervise at least two full-time employees and you must have the power to hire and fire. A lot of people who are called manager or supervisor don't meet the criteria, said Irv Miljoner, who heads the U.S. Labor Department's Long Island, N.Y., office.

As for the night differential: That's up to the company to designate who earns it, unless an employment agreement or a union contract stipulates the extra pay.

To learn more, call the Labor Department at (866) 487-2365.

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