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If I get a salary how many hours do I have to work?

I now work for a construction firm as a superintendent in Miami, Florida. I handle HR for my crew. I get a salary. How many hours do I have to work in one day, and how many hours in a week, also do I have to work weekends?

If you perform no manual labor, and your salary is more than $455 per week, you are probably a salary exempt employee. That means that the employer does not have to pay you overtime when you work more than 40 hours per week. In fact, they do not even have to pay you the minimum wage for the hours that you work. They do have to pay your entire salary (unless you miss a day of work) whether you work 30 hours per week or 90 hours per week.

To answer your questions in order, as long as you work at least 1 hour per day, the employer must pay your salary for the day. However, the employer can legally require that you work 8,10,12, even 16 or more hours per day, every day. There is no federal or Florida law that sets a limit on how many hours an employer can require an employee to work. (Again, unless the employee is performing manual labor.) The employer can legally require that you work 100 hours per week or more — it is not limited under federal or state law. And, because you are legitimately a salary exempt employee, the employer need not pay overtime.

Under both federal and Florida law, an employer can legitimately require any employee to work weekends. If the employee is salary exempt, he or she need not be paid extra for this.

To make sure that you are a salary exempt employee, check with the US Department of Labor, Wage and Hour division.

This entry was posted on Monday, July 14th, 2008 at 8:30 am and is filed under
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31 Responses to “If I get a salary how many hours do I have to work?”

  1. James Taylor Says:

    Very helpful, thanks for posting this.

  2. Caitlin Says:

    Thanks for reading, James!

  3. jessica Says:

    My office is salary 31 hrs a week
    8m to 5pm. I had to leave at 2:30pm due to my daughter being sick and I was deducted the hrs out of my paycheck also they took taxes out of my salary rate for the week even thought I was paid less for that week . Can they do that ? I paid in taxes on my salary rate for the week and then they deducted my hrs after taxes.

  4. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Jessica! This reduction in pay may have been proper. There are two types of salaried employees: exempt and non-exempt. You are being treated as a non-exempt salaried employee. That means you would be entitled to overtime, if you worked more than 40 hours in any one week.
    If you are an exempt salaried employee, and you were absent on personal business for less than a full day, then this deduction in pay is improper.
    It also sounds like the employer figured the amount of income tax withheld improperly. Employers do sometimes make mistakes. In this case, you will receive a larger refund when you file your income taxes, because of the mistake. If the employer continues to deduct excess taxes every week, that is a problem. You can also post questions on our sister site at HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  5. Rebecca cook Says:

    I work as a chef in hawaii.
    I have been given long crazy shifts.
    5am to 10 then back at 4pm to close 12am
    some days it is an 18 hr day.
    I am salary.
    Can they do this?

  6. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Rebecca! Yes, if you meet the criteria for an exempt employee, they can do this. The employer can require that you work any number of hours — even 120 per week or more — without overtime compensation.
    However, this is not usual in the restaurant business. Even though split shifts and long hours are nothing new, usually the Chef makes the schedule for everyone in the kitchen…including herself. If you are one of a number of *chefs* whose schedules are created by someone else, then you may not meet the criteria for an exempt employee. In that case, the employer would have to pay overtime when you work more than 40 hours in the week, although they could still schedule you for split shifts.
    Read the fact sheet below to determine if you are genuinely an exempt employee. Only the “Executive” exemption really applies to a chef. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

    Read more about this at:

  7. Nacio Says:

    I’m a general manager for Wendy’s in Houston, Texas. I am salaried. My boss has me working from open to close which is 7am to 3am; working 6 days a week. What can I do? He tells me I have to work because he doesn’t have anyone to cover the store. I have addressed this with the owner and nothing has come about. Please advise me of my rights.

  8. Adam Says:

    If you are salary worker and they require to have you work 50+ hours, but on the payroll record they pro-rate it based on 80 hours in two week period. Is this legal?

  9. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Adam! Yes, this is completely legal if you are an exempt salaried employee. Regardless of how many hours the employee actually works, he is entitled to the same salary. Usually benefits are based upon a 40 hour week, even if the employee actually works 50, 70 or 100 hours per week. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  10. melissa Says:

    What would be manual labor be…..i work the desk and clean the laundry room,office, and public bathroom and wash laundry all day long.

  11. Caitlin Says:

    Hi melisa! It sounds like you work in a hotel. Doing laundry and cleaning would be manual labor. Working the front desk would not be. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  12. beatriz baho Says:

    Hi my boyfriend is a superviser at a construction site nd is a salary employee I want to know how many hours is he required to work and can he get overtime pay

  13. Caitlin Says:

    hi beatriz! Most salaried supervisors are exempt employees, meaning they are exempt from the overtime laws. This means the employee can be required to work 100+ hours per week, and is never entitled to overtime. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  14. Melisa Says:

    My husband is paid salary. Is there a number of hours salary is based on? Is it based on a regular 40hour work week?

  15. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Melisa! Most of the time, a salaried employee is really an exempt employee. There is no specific number of hours that an exempt employees salary is based on — or rather, the employer gets to determine the specific number of hours and can change it at any time.
    Many salaried exempt employees assume that they are being paid for 40 hours per week, but this is not accurate. There is no presumption under federal law that a salaried employee will work only 40 hours per week. The employer can establish the expected work week for salaried employees, and it can be 40, 50 or even 80+ hours per week, every week. The exempt employee is never entitled to overtime, regardless of how many hours he works. On the other hand, if he works fewer hours than the employer expects, he can be terminated. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  16. Alisha Says:

    NO!!! In order for an employer NOT to pay overtime (40 hrs/week) you must meet ALL of the exemption requirements not just one ($455/week). There are 5 requirements which MANY people fail to meet.
    Please look into the law.

  17. Alex Says:

    We have a family business. My brothers have ask to be paid Salary. Both of them do manual labor. Brother 1 works Monday – Friday and Brother 2 Monday-Saturday.

    Brother 1 work for Brother 2 on Saturday only and expected to get paid hourly or any overtime.

    I told him no, because he gets paid salary can I do that? I have stated that he is salary and is expected to work 40 hours, but he actually works less than 35 hours. He works likes 30 hours or less a week. Sometimes products are not avaliable for our customers. Ever since brother 1 became salary I have less production.

  18. Rachel Says:

    Hi is it ok for an employer to require a salaried employee to work 10 hours then only have 6 hours off before having to come back and work another 10 hour shift as a part of a regular schedule?

  19. hrlady Says:

    Hi Rachel,

    According to the U.S. Department of Labor, There is no limit on the number of hour’s employees aged 16 and older may work in any workweek. An employee’s workweek is a fixed and regularly recurring period of 268 hours, seven consecutive 24 hour periods.

    An exempt employee is required to work whatever hours are necessary to get the job done. Therefore, your employer can require you to work whatever hours are needed in order to get the job done.

    Thank you for reading the

  20. gabrielle Says:

    what if you do do “manual labor” then is there a restriction on hours worked? and can you define manual labor?

  21. hrlady Says:

    Hi Gabrielle,

    Manual labor is defined in the dictionary as physical work done by people. It is literally defined as work done by hands, any it is work done with any of muscles and bones of the body. Examples are; manual material handling (shelf stocking), farm work, manual digging, assembly of parts and it can be done by skilled or unskilled workers.

    The U. S. Department of Labor put restrictions on the number of hour’s 18 year old employees and younger can work. However, as long as employees are paid overtime for hours over forty an employer can require additional hours per week.

    Some states have restrictions on work hours; you can check your state labor laws for additional information.

    Thank you for reading the

  22. Mel Says:

    I am a kitchen manager for carrabbas.and i get paid salary.what is the min.salary they have to pay and how manu hours a week do i have to work because i do manual labor

  23. hrlady Says:

    Hi Mel,

    Depending on the responsibilities of your position, you are most likely classified exempt because of the professional capacity of your position. The minimum salary an exempt employee receives is $455.00 per week guaranteed. In addition, you can be required to work 40 plus hours per week.
    As far as the manual labor, many managers perform some manual labor. It is the responsibility of a manager that makes you an exempt employee, directing others etc.
    If you have additional questions, please contact your supervisor or Human Resource Department.

    Thank you for reading the

  24. Michael Says:

    Is the 455.00 per week before or after taxes?

  25. hrlady Says:

    Hi Michael,
    The salary must be at least $455 gross, meaning before taxes are deducted.

  26. Susie Says:

    I have a clerical employee that we put on salary. Now that she is salaried she is leaving early and effectively working less hours. She says she is exempt because I put her on salary and that she doesn’t have to work a certain number of hours. I am getting the short end of the stick here as the office is open from 8 to 5 and she’s not working a full 8 hours like before. Is she right?

  27. hrlady Says:

    Hi Susie,
    Under the FLSA, employees are either non-exempt or exempt.
    Non-exempt employees must be paid for all hours worked and are subject to overtime and minimum wage requirements prescribed by the FLSA. Conversely, exempt employees receive a fixed predetermined salary and are excluded from overtime pay provisions.
    Hourly paid and salary are compensation terms. A non-exempt employee can be paid on a salary basis, though doing so is usually advantageous to the employee.
    It’s important to determine if the employee is exempt or non-exempt. Most clerical employees are non-exempt. Feel free to review our other posts regarding this or post a question. Remember, you as the employer determine your employees’ classifications.
    Regardless of an employee’s classification, employers are still permitted to control the employee’s schedule. So, even an exempt employee can be required to work a set schedule and be disciplined for not adhering to the schedule.
    If you determine the employee is non-exempt, you can still pay her a salary based on a set schedule. Just remember, a salaried non-exempt employee is still considered non-exempt under the law and entitled to overtime pay for any hours worked over 40 in a given workweek.

  28. Diane Johnson Says:

    My HR Department is in the process of putting up a job positing for a exempt management opening position, on the positing it states the position is exempt but doesn’t specify the min hours to be worked for this salary. This is a manual labor agricultural position. This position will oversea a staff that is working 35 hours a week, but since we didn’t put the expectations to the applicant when they were hire can we now make them work a min? Can we advertise a job posting for an exempt salary that doesn’t specify a min hours worked per week thank you.

  29. hrlady Says:

    Hi Diane,
    Yes, you can post a position without noting the minimum number of hours expected to work per week and you can require exempt employees to work a minimum number of hours per week. It’s best practice to inform the employee of the hours expected of them during the interview process or when such hours change for business reasons. Make sure the position is in fact exempt based on the criteria set forth by the FLSA. Many manual labor positions are non-exempt.

  30. Georgeann Smith Says:

    I am an employer and have a few salaried employees, my question is if the employee misses work due to personal business or if the client is not available can I suggest that they make up the time they have missed. Otherwise I am paying them for time they did not work. Thanks.

  31. hrlady Says:

    Hi Georgeann,
    Yes, employers are permitted to request or require employees, exempt or non-exempt, to make up hours missed. Salaried (exempt) employees receive a fixed salary regardless of the quantity of hours worked. So, your employees may miss work on occasion without being docked pay but they may also be working additional hours without being paid for them. It’s important to keep this in mind when asking employees to make up time missed. Be sure your expectations are realistic. Otherwise, you’ll end up with tired, disgruntled employees.

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