If I get paid salary to work 40 hours a week, can my boss demand that I work 48 hours?

UPDATED: Jan 12, 2012

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If I get paid salary to work 40 hours a week, can my boss demand that I work 48 hours?

If I don’t he’ll reduce my pay.

Asked on January 12, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Unless you have an employment contract, you are an employee at will. As an employee at will, you may be terminated at any time, for any reason--including not working more than 40 hours. Furthermore, your employer sets--and may therefore change at will--your compensation, unless you have a contract setting it. Therefore, from what you write, yes--if  you don't work the extra hours, your boss may reduce your salary.

However, one thing to verify is that you are actually an non-exempt employee--that  is, that you actually are exempt from overtime. The mere fact that you are paid on a salaried, not hourly, basis does not, by itself, mean you can't earn overtime. To be overtime exempt, your duties and job must meet certain criteria or tests. You can find these tests on the Department of Labor website: in brief, if you're an office work (e.g. no a field sales rep). to be exempt, you need to be a manager; a highly educated professional (high-level computer staff, accountant, etc.); a creative professional (certain graphic artists or designers, for example); or a fairly high-level administrator with a good amount of authority and discretion. If you don't meet one of these qualifications, then even if you are paid a salary, you still should get extra pay (overtime) for working more than 40 hours in a week. It would be worthwhile for you to go to the Deptment of Labor website, check out the tests to be exempt, and compare them to your job, to see if perhaps you  might be owed extra pay.

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.

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