If you are on salary does your employer have to pay at least minimum wage?

UPDATED: May 17, 2011

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If you are on salary does your employer have to pay at least minimum wage?

I’m a salaried employee. I work at a school as a teacher’s assistant. We have asked about our pay because its so low. We have been told that we make well above minimum wage.However, if you do the math, with minimum wage being $7.25 per hour, for an 8 hour day/40 hours a week, that will give you $1160 a month. That’s not what we make. So how is that well above minimum wage? Legally what can we do?

Asked on May 17, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The fact that you are salaried is not in and of itself the controlling factor. The real issue is whether or not you are an "exempt" employee (i.e. someone who is exempt from overtime).  Just because you are salaried doesn't mean that you are necessarily exempt from labor laws. Being paid a salary is is part of the test for most forms of exemption, but it's not the only part.  Additionally, if you are "non-exempt", you must be paid overtime for hours worked past 40 in a week.  If, on the other hand, you are an exempt employee, unless you have an employment contract that states otherwise, your employer may make you work unlimited hours - and without overtime. What you need to do now is to go to the your state's or the Department of Labor's website and check to see whether you qualify for "exempt" or "non-exempt" status.

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