Thanks to technology, the world is a busier place. Smartphones and tablets have made it easy for employers, co-workers, and clients to reach us instantly, and in most cases online etiquette demands that we respond just as quickly. Theoretically, it’s possible for us to be on call 24/7 (and some of us are).
How does this affect the size of our paycheck? While neither Connecticut state law nor the federal Fair Labor Standard Act limits the number of hours a Connecticut employee may work in a week (unless they are a minor), eligible personnel who work more than 40 hours per week must receive overtime pay for each hour in excess of that threshold.
What is the Connecticut Overtime Rate?
Overtime pay may not be less than one and a half times the employee’s regular rate of pay: for example, if you make $14 per hour, you must be paid $21 per hour for all overtime work, regardless of whether or not your boss approved it. Time spent training and in meetings also fall under the category of work that qualifies for overtime pay.
Are There Exemptions?
Connecticut employment law recognizes a few exemptions to the overtime requirement. Some of these exemptions and their criteria include:
- Executives who earn a salary of at least $913 a week and occupy a management position
- Administrative personnel who earn a salary of at least $913 a week and perform office work directly related to the company’s general business operations or management
- “Learned professionals” such as doctors, lawyers, and accountants
- Creative professionals such as artists, journalists, or photographers who make at least $913 per week in salary or fees
It is important to note that just because an employee is salaried instead of earning an hourly wage, they are not automatically disqualified for overtime pay. In December 2016 the U.S. Department of Labor increased the overtime threshold of the Fair Labor Standard Act to $47,476. Salaried employees who earn this much or less may be entitled to overtime.
When Employers Circumvent the Law
Overtime is expensive, so some employers try to take advantage of loopholes that could let them benefit from more labor at less cost. One of the most common strategies is to misclassify employees as exempt by giving them a title that suggests an executive role, such as “assistant manager.” However, title alone does not meet the criteria for exemption: the duties they perform make that determination.
For example, you are a coffee shop employee whose duties include serving customers, maintaining stock levels, and cleaning. You make $11 per hour but you frequently work overtime. Your boss advises you that you are now an assistant manager and no longer entitled to overtime pay, even though your duties have not changed and no one reports to you. In this instance, you could have a claim against your employer.
Some workplaces have a “comp time” policy, meaning that employees are given extra days off in lieu of overtime pay. For example, you work 56 hours in a single week and are given two days off the next week to offset the extra 16 hours. In most instances, this practice is illegal. So is waiving overtime requirements by an agreement between you and your employer.
Connecticut and federal overtime laws are quite clear, but many employers still try to save money by circumventing them. If you are not being paid for all the hours you work, then contact the Interlandi Law Office today. We will fight for the back pay and other benefits you may be entitled to.