Am I due backed compensation?

I currently work for a company in the construction industry obviously hurting with the current economy. My employer gathered all "salaried" employees and forced us to sign a form "volunteering" to take days off without pay... I don't believe I am an exempt employee as I do not manage anyone and my salary is my only compensation.

Does my employer owe me for these days off? Also, my fellow co-workers and I work an average 45-50 hour work week yet we are never given overtime pay. I have never been paid overtime since I started in 2006. Am I due this compensation as well?

If so, what action could/should I take with this being in the state of Arizona??

1 answer  |  asked Mar 18, 2009 5:23 PM [EST]  |  applies to Arizona

Answers (1)

Francis Fanning
No guarantee of hours

You have asked two questions that have nothing to do with one another. First, an employer can reduce your work days as your employer has, regardless of whether you are salaried or hourly (I assume you are an "at-will" employee as most private sector employees are). The second question is a bit more complicated. Exempt employees are not limited to managerial employees. There are a number of other categories of exempt employees. Whether your position falls within one of those exemptions requires a review of your job description and your actual duties.
If it turns out you are not an exempt employee, you have two options. You can make a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor or you can file suit under the Fair Labor Standards Act to recover the unpaid overtime and liquidated damages. The fact that you work in Arizona has nothing to do with your question. The FLSA is a federal law and the U.S. Department of Labor is a federal agency. The law is the same in all states.
Be prepared for a surprise when you go to calculate your overtime pay. Since you are a salaried employee, even if you are non-exempt, your overtime pay has to be based on your salary, which is an annual, monthly or weekly rate of pay. This means that You have already been paid for all the hours you worked, and your claim is only for the extra due for hours over 40 in a given week. For example, if you work 40 hours in a week and are paid a weekly salary of $400, your hourly rate for that week is $10/hr. If you work 50 hours, your salary is still $400, so your hourly rate for that week is $8/hr. You are entitled to an extra $4 per hour for each hour over 40 in that week, so that amounts to 10x4 or $40. Next week's hourly rate depends on how many hours you work for that week. For a 60 hour week, your effective hourly rate is $400/60, or $6.66 per hour. Your overtime claim for that week would be 20 hours x 1/2 of $6.66, or $66.60. Not nearly what you might expect.

posted by Francis Fanning  |  Mar 18, 2009 7:31 PM [EST]

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