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How to Know If You Are Eligible for Overtime Pay


In the U.S., any non-exempt employee who works more than 40 hours per week is eligible for overtime pay. Overtime pay must be at least one and a half times the employee’s regular rate of pay.

Whether you’ve just started a new job or you’ve been working in the same role for several months, you might be confused about whether you qualify for overtime pay.

How to Qualify for Overtime Pay

Whether you are entitled to overtime pay will depend on whether you are classified as an exempt or non-exempt employee. Exempt employees are not entitled to any overtime pay, while non-exempt employees are.

An employer can classify a worker as exempt if they:

  • Pay the minimum exempt salary. Exempt employees must make at least the minimum salary as determined by New York wage and hour laws.
  • Ensure the role passes the duties test. Employers must prove that exempt employees perform certain duties.

The Duties Test

Though there is a federal duties test to determine whether a role can be classified as exempt, New York State has its own duties test.

The duties test allows for three different kinds of exemptions: administrative, professional, and executive exemptions. If your job meets the requirements for one of these types of exemptions, you can be classified as an exempt employee.

To qualify for an administrative exemption, your work must:

  • Involve office-related or non-manual work related to the employer’s operations
  • Involve exercising discretion and judgment
  • Involve assisting the employer in an executive or administrative capacity

To qualify for a professional exemption, your work must:

  • Involve exercising discretion and judgment
  • Be primarily intellectual and not overly routine
  • Produce output that can’t be standardized by a given period of time

To qualify for an executive exemption, your work must:

  • Involve managing a department or subdivision of the company
  • Involve directing the work of at least two employees
  • Involve exercising discretionary powers
  • Give you hiring or firing power

Minimum Salary Requirements for Exempt Employees

Recently, New York increased the minimum salary a person must be paid to qualify as an exempt employee. Though the state’s duties test remains unchanged, the minimum salaries for exempt employees have increased.

Exempt employees must be paid:

  • $1,125 per week in New York City
  • $975 per week in Westchester, Suffolk, and Nassau counties
  • $885 per week in the rest of the state

Seek Legal Counsel for Your Overtime Claim

Hiring a lawyer is the best action you can take if you need help determining whether you are eligible for overtime or if your employer is failing to pay you overtime. At Schwartz Perry & Heller LLP, our employment lawyers offer aggressive advocacy for employees seeking fair treatment and pay.

Consult with us today by calling (646) 490-0221.