Are You Exempt from New Jersey’s Overtime Laws?

As a general rule, all New Jersey employees must get time and a half for any hours worked over 40 in a week. However, New Jersey also exempts certain employees from these overtime laws.

Exemptions are narrower than you might think. Some employers like to tell employees that they can’t get overtime because they are salaried, but that isn’t the law. Instead, employees are only exempt if they meet stringent requirements and work certain white-collar jobs. Three of the most common exemptions are for employees who work in executive, administrative, or professional jobs.

Executive Classification

When determining whether you are exempt from overtime, you have to do more than look at the label used by your employer. Your company can call you an “executive,” but that doesn’t mean you will qualify as exempt under the executive classification. Instead, you must meet the following:

  • Be paid on a salary basis
  • Be paid at least $455 a week
  • Manage the company or a department/subdivision as your “primary duty”
  • Direct the work of at least two full-time employees or their equivalents
  • Possess the authority to hire and fire, or have others give your opinions on these matters particular weight

For example, you might be identified as an executive but not have any control over employees. In that case, you fail the test for being exempt and should qualify for overtime if you work more than 40 hours in a week.

Administrative Classification

To qualify for the administrative exemption, you must check off all of the following:

  • You must be paid at least $455 on a salary basis
  • Your primary duty must be office or non-manual work related to general business operations or management
  • You exercise discretion and independent judgment on significant matters

Many office jobs can be loosely labeled “administrative.” However, this does not mean that they satisfy the test above. For example, if you are a file clerk who performs only routine filing, without any discretion or judgment on meaningful matters, then you probably do not qualify for an administrative exemption. It doesn’t matter if your employee claims you are “administrative”; you have to look at your duties. Consult with an attorney if you feel your boss is unfairly denying you overtime.

Learned Professional Employees

Learned professional employees are also exempt if they meet the following requirements:

  • You are paid at least $455 a week on a salaried basis
  • Your primary duties involve work that demands advanced knowledge that is intellectual and requires judgment and discretion
  • The advanced knowledge is in a field of science or learning
  • The advanced knowledge is typically acquired by specialized intellectual instruction, such as college or graduate school.

Common examples of learned professionals are doctors, lawyers, accountants, scientists, engineers, teachers, and pharmacists.

Many people with college degrees are doing routine office work. Your employer might claim you are now a “professional” since you have a degree and even hype this designation as a form of job advancement. Be careful. Your employer might be misclassifying you to avoid paying overtime.

Meet with the Sattiraju & Tharney, LLP Today

If you suspect your employer is unfairly denying you overtime, you should meet with an experienced New Jersey unpaid overtime attorney. Call the Sattiraju & Tharney, LLP today, 609-454-0637. We will be happy to meet with you for a consultation to review your case.