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Apr02

If I’m on salary, can my employer schedule me every week for 6 days and 50 hours?

I’m an assistant branch manager & operations manager for my branch of a large retail bank. I’m salaried (and exempt I think.) My district manager recently told me that I now have to work 50+ hours a week and 6 days (sometimes 7) without any pay increase or policy change. Prior to this I worked occasional overtime and always had 2 days off every week. Is this legal?

The quick answer to this question is “yes.”  You don’t mention which state you’re in, but there are very few states that restrict the number of hours an employer can require an employee over the age of 18 to work. An employer could require an employee to work 12 or more hours, 7 days per week, for months on end – and some do.

It would be nice if employers always offered more money when increasing a worker’s responsibilities or hours, but they are under no obligation to do so. Employers can and do change working conditions on a regular basis.

However, the employer must comply with federal and state overtime laws. In this case, that’s not relevant because it appears that the employee is salaried exempt, meaning she is on salary and not legally entitled to overtime pay.

If this employee was not on salary, the employer could still make any number of hours mandatory (in most states) but the employer would have to pay 1.5 times the workers usual hourly rate after 40 hours per pay period.

There may be a loophole here if the employee is not genuinely salaried exempt. In order to be salaried exempt, an “executive” must generally supervise 3 or more workers. Usually, that means having the power to independently hire or fire them, without consulting anyone else. Administrative workers must have the power to make significant business decisions independently, in order to be salaried exempt.

A salaried employee who earns less than $455 per week is always entitled to overtime when working over 40 hours.

A few states such as Illinois and Wisconsin have laws that require employers to give workers one day per week off. However, in most cases those laws don’t apply to salaried employees.

A few states have laws that limit the number of overtime hours in specific occupations. In Massachusetts, for example, nurses can’t be required to work overtime. The federal Department of Transportation safety standards prohibit long-haul truckers from working more than 60 hours in 7 days or 70 hours in 8 days. But there are very few states with general restrictions on the amount of overtime an employer can require.   

This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008 at 10:05 am and is filed under
Attendance Management, Compensation.
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14 Responses to “If I’m on salary, can my employer schedule me every week for 6 days and 50 hours?”

  1. Jeremy Says:

    Where can I find this in the labor code? My wife is an apartment manager in CA. Though she is “the manager” she cannot fire/hire employees or even put trim up in the laundry room without her regional manager’s approval. My question is, her regional just started making her lock/unlock the pool in the weekends. We are usually visiting family an hour away since sat/sun are her days off. Now we have to give up travel plans every weekend to be there at a dictated time to unlock.lock the pool. Does this apply? The say she is exempt from overtime.

  2. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Jeremy! An employer can make an exempt salaried employee work any number of hours without paying overtime. Exempt employees may be Executives, Administrators, Outside Salespeople, Computer Pros or Professionals. From your description, it is possible that your wife is an exempt Administrator. Even if your wife were not exempt, the employer has the right to require her to work overtime, and even 7 days per week, as long as the employer pays the applicable overtime rate. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

    Read more about the federal law at: http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/regs/compliance/fairpay/fs17a_overview.pdf
    Read more about the California law at: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/faq_OvertimeExemptions.htm

  3. Tiffany Says:

    I am a salaried employee. My employer told me that 40 is my minimum. I live in Utah and understand why employers want to pay salary. Does anyone know where I can find a list of the laws to give to my employer?

  4. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Tiffany! You can always refer your employer to this site. However, be aware that the employer can fire you for working less than 40 hours per week. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  5. tommy Says:

    Just wanted to say I enjoyed the post. You have really put a lot of time into your article and it is just great!

  6. Caitlin Says:

    Check back often, tommy! We post 5 days per week!~ Caitlin

  7. tracey Kaplan Says:

    I am a restaurant kitchen manager and we recently did not “pass” our semi-annual inspection so to “hold us accountable” our general manager scheduled all of her manager 6 days this week. I am scheduled for 66 hours this week and usually work longer than my scheduled time out. My pay is based upon a 55 hour work week. am i eligible for any compensation for the extra time I am at work this week?

  8. Caitlin Says:

    Hi tracey! No, you are not entitled to any additional payment, even if you work 80 or 100 hours per week. It sounds like you are an exempt employee, so the concept of overtime does not apply. HTH,and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  9. Jacques Whitecotton Says:

    Thank you for providing this to my very own attention. I truly appreciate it when individuals take time to assist others out there. This is a really great site and I anticipate visiting once again.

  10. Caitlin Says:

    You are very welcome, Jacques!~Catlin

  11. Shameka Says:

    Hi, I am a supervisor at a Health Insurance company in NYC. I am salaried and make the minimum of $455 a week. I supervise staff but can not hire or fire them. If I am required to work OT, must I be paid for it?

  12. hrlady Says:

    Hi Shameka,

    A salaried exempt employee does not receive overtime. In addition, you can be required to work as many hours as necessary to get the job done.

  13. Debbie Says:

    My daughter works in Missouri where she was hired to be manager of a resturant..she cannot hire or fire or make any decisions. Recently the owners decided to open more hours and she was told she had to work the extra hours and has no right to complain because she is salaried. If she was hired to work x amount of hours and that is what her salary is based on can they make her work more without some form of compensation?

  14. hrlady Says:

    Hi Debbie,
    An exempt employee can be required to work as many hours as required to get the job done. Your daughter’s salary will not change regardless if she is working 30 hours per week or 60 hours per week.
    As far as her not hiring or firing, her other responsibilities such as directing the work may be part of why she is in an exempt status.
    Thank you for reading the Humanresourceblog.com

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