employee classification

I was hired as a salried employee in Michigan, however my employer now tells us all salried workers except department heads must work as hourly. He tells us that the new laws require it. Can you shed some light on this?

Asked on October 16, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

There have been no changes to the labor laws requiring a reclassification from salary to hourly; more generally, employees can pay anyone on either a salary or hourly basis: the most junior mailroom guy/girl can be salaried and the president/CEO hourly. 
The above said, many salaried employees are NOT overtime exempt, because either their salary is not high enough (at least $23,600/year) or because they don't have sufficient authority or discretion to meet one of the "tests" or criteria for exemption. To be exempt, it's not enough to be paid on a salary basis; you also have to meet one of the tests for exemption, like the "executive" exemption, "administrative employee" exemption, "professional" exemption, etc., which can be found on the U.S. Dept. of Labor website, under "overtime." Unless a person's job duties and responsibilities meets at least one of these tests, they would get overtime, even if paid on a salary basis.
It can be difficult adminstratively to pay salaried employees overtime--you have to track their time even though they are salaried; the calculations are not as straightforward as with hourly employees; etc. If the company has decided that you and similar employees are not in fact exempt, it would make more sense to make you hourly-if you're going to be overtime eligible, you should best be paid hourly.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.