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Can I Get Paid Overtime In New Jersey Even If Salaried?

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Kenneth J. Katz - Employment & Labor - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Kenneth J. Katz

Located in New York, NYKatz Melinger PLLC

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Many salaried employees in New Jersey must still receive overtime pay despite being compensated on a salary basis. Your eligibility for overtime pay is determined by your employment classification under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state law. It is important to note that your employer does not have the final say on what employment classification you fall under.

Employers often misclassify employees, both intentionally and unintentionally, thus depriving those employees of the benefits and pay they are entitled to under the law. 

Salary Is One Factor, But Not The Only One

Salary is just one of the many factors that the FLSA and New Jersey law consider when determining overtime eligibility. Other important factors relate to job duties and area of employment. In very general terms, to be exempt from overtime pay, you must be salaried, you must meet the minimum salary requirement, you must have high-level job duties, and you must have some creative or decision-making responsibilities. However, there are gray areas and specific requirements that can further complicate matters. 

More On Exempt Categories 

Salaried employees can be exempt from overtime if, based upon their job duties and responsibilities, they fall into an exempt employment classification. These exempt classifications include, but are not limited to: 

  • Executive, administrative and professional exemptions
  • Sales workers who work on commission
  • Computer employees such as systems analysts and software engineers
  • Some farm and hotel workers 
  • Certain religious positions

These categories are strictly defined, and a salaried employee must satisfy several specific tests in order to fall into one of these classifications. In addition, salaried employees may be exempt from overtime if their take-home pay is significantly higher than the typical worker, and they at least partially satisfy the tests of one of the aforementioned exempt employment classifications.

Job Titles Are Not Definitive 

Like salary, a job title alone does not determine exempt status. For example, an administrative assistant may not qualify for the administrate exemption if daily work does not involve making significant business decisions. Similarly, a retail manager may not qualify for the executive exemption if the manager’s main responsibilities are on-floor sales and maintenance work, rather than traditional management duties. Depending on the division of labor and specific duties, both workers may still be eligible to get paid time-and-a-half for hours worked over 40 in a week. 

Determining exempt status can be complex and is highly dependent on the actual work that employee performs. There is a reason why many employers mistakenly misclassify workers or think that they can get away with intentionally misclassifying them. 

If you feel you are owed overtime, including previous overtime worked for which you have not been paid, an experienced employment law attorney can answer your questions and provide options, including the potential to recover unpaid overtime.

Unpaid overtime can be recovered regardless of whether the employer intentionally or unintentionally misclassified you.

All unpaid wage claims are unique, so get the advice you need by contacting an experienced and skilled employment attorney for a free consultation. 

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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