What are my rights if I was moved from salary to hourly?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What are my rights if I was moved from salary to hourly?

My employer recently told me they where moving me from salary to hourly pay after 2 years of working for them. When HR told me, she said that I never should have been put on salary pay but since she wasn’t around back then there’s no way of telling why. This took place when my boss was out of town on vacation so I couldn’t speak with him about it. After I questioned HR about the hours I worked overtime in the past 2 years but wasn’t paid for, she asked me to make a list of those times so she can do something, there was no promise of back pay just an implication. Also, I had no record of all the hours I worked overtime in the past years so I had to guess and admited as much.

Asked on January 9, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Being moved from hourly to salary does not itself create any obligation to pay you for past "overtime" IF you were properly exempt from overtime at the time. If you not then exempt, however, you may be entitled to back overtime: salaried employees are entitled to an overtime premium if they were not overtime exempt.
Three things are needed to be exempt from overtime:
1) You must be paid a salary;
2) The salary must be high enough (at least $23,600/year); 
3) And your job description/duties must meet one of the "tests" or criteria for exemption, which you can find on the U.S Dept. of Labor website under "overtime." Compare your job to those different exemptions (the most commonly appplicable ones are the executive exemption, the adminstrative employee exemption, and the professional exemption): if your job does *not* meet at least one of them (you can meet more than one; there is overlap), then even if you were salaried, you were entitled to extra pay when working more than 40 hours in a workweek (or in your state, more than 8 hours in a day). If you believe this is the case, contact the state or federal departmet of labor to discuss filing a complaint.

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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