There is sometimes confusion between the different rights for different types of employment. What constitutes working hours? When exactly does an employer need to compensate a non-exempt employee? We hope to clarify these and other questions.
The difference between exempt and non-exempt employees
There are two basic types of employment in this country: exempt and non-exempt. Exempt work status applies to salaried employees who are paid the same amount of money every week, regardless of the number of hours worked; there is no overtime pay. Salaried compensation often comes with benefits that traditionally were not available to non-exempt coworkers. In order to qualify as exempt, employees must typically have management authority or have "professional" status.
Non-exempt employees, on the other hand, are paid a particular rate per hour worked. Under the law, these employees are required to be compensated for their usual rate for the first 40 hours worked each week. For any time worked beyond those first 40 hours, they must be paid at 1.5 times their normal hourly rate. This system sounds straightforward, but it can actually lead to more complex grey areas. Many have argued about what can be considered work hours and what cannot.
“What if while waiting for an exam, you end up running 15 minutes into your lunch break?” asked Julie Whiteley, a dental hygienist and human resource professional. “Are you still on the clock then? What about work that you may do outside of the office? For example, I have heard of hygienists sharpening instruments at home. Is that considered working time?”
There is far more discussion regarding what is considered working time for those who are paid by the hour because there is more room for interpretation. However, one thing is perfectly clear: the better an employee is treated, the more fairly they are paid, the more likely they are to go above and beyond to meet the company’s needs.
The highly talented legal team at Klie Law Offices are experts when it comes to employment law. If you have not been fairly compensated or if you are concerned about discrimination in the workplace, contact the West Virginia employment law attorneys in our office today. We will work hard to ensure that you receive the fair and equal compensation you deserve.