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  • Writer's pictureJoshua C. Black

The Truth about Salary and Overtime Pay

By Joshua C. Black, Esq.

As an employment lawyer based in Phoenix, Arizona, I often receive inquiries from salaried employees wondering if they are entitled to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). It's a valid concern, as overtime compensation can significantly impact an employee's financial well-being. In this post, we will explore the key factors that determine whether salaried employees are eligible for overtime pay under the FLSA.

Understanding the FLSA

The FLSA is a federal law that establishes labor standards, including minimum wage, maximum working hours, and overtime pay requirements. It sets the foundation for fair employment practices across the United States, ensuring employees are treated fairly and compensated appropriately for their work.

Salaried Employees and the FLSA

Many employees mistakenly believe that being paid a salary automatically exempts them from receiving overtime pay. However, it is important to note that being a salaried employee alone does not determine your eligibility for overtime compensation. The FLSA focuses on two main categories of employees: exempt and non-exempt.

Exempt Employees

Exempt employees are not entitled to overtime pay under the FLSA. To be classified as exempt, an employee must meet specific criteria related to job duties and salary level. The FLSA identifies three primary exemptions:

  1. Executive Exemption: This exemption applies to employees whose primary duties involve managing and supervising others. They must have the authority to hire, fire, and make important business decisions.

  2. Administrative Exemption: This exemption covers employees whose primary duties involve office or non-manual work directly related to management or general business operations. They exercise discretion and independent judgment on significant matters.

  3. Professional Exemption: This exemption applies to employees who perform work that requires advanced knowledge in a specialized field, typically requiring a prolonged course of specialized education.

It is crucial to note that meeting the exemption criteria goes beyond job titles. The actual duties performed by an employee are the determining factor. Employers should carefully analyze each employee's job responsibilities to ensure proper classification.

Non-Exempt Employees

Non-exempt employees are typically entitled to overtime pay under the FLSA. This category includes employees who do not meet the exemption criteria outlined above. They must be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and receive overtime compensation at a rate of one-and-a-half times their regular hourly rate for any hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek.

How to Determine Your Exempt Status

To understand your exempt status accurately, it is essential to consult with an experienced employment lawyer who can assess your job duties, responsibilities, and compensation structure. Employment laws can be complex, and the determination requires a comprehensive evaluation of multiple factors.

Benefits of Consulting an Employment Lawyer

If you have concerns about your exempt or non-exempt status and potential entitlement to overtime pay, consulting an employment lawyer can provide valuable guidance. They can help you:

  1. Evaluate your job responsibilities and duties to determine if you meet the exemption criteria.

  2. Review your compensation structure to ensure compliance with the FLSA.

  3. Assess potential misclassification issues and advise you on the appropriate steps to take.

  4. Pursue legal action if you believe your rights have been violated.


As a salaried employee in Phoenix, Arizona, it's important to understand your rights under the FLSA regarding overtime pay. Remember that being a salaried employee alone does not automatically exclude you from overtime compensation. The key factors determining your eligibility are your job duties, responsibilities, and whether you meet the criteria for exemption under the FLSA.

If you have concerns about your exempt or non-exempt status, consulting an experienced employment lawyer is the best course of action.

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