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Who is exempt from overtime pay?

Here in the United States, we often assume that overtime pay is a given for employees who choose to put in more than 40 hours per week. However, under the law, overtime pay is generally only guaranteed to lower wage earners, with exemptions that apply to many individuals who may work well over the standard 40 hours per work week.

Individuals who do not qualify for overtime range across a number of fields and positions. Business executives and managers whose jobs entail using independent understanding and judgment may be exempt from overtime pay.

Similarly, "learned professionals," which includes any job that requires an individual to possess "advanced learning" typically only acquired through significant time spent obtaining specialized education, may also be exempt. This typically applies to jobs in scientific or academic fields, but not always.

Exemptions also exist for creative professionals. While this term is very broad, it may apply to those whose work involves generating creative content, inventing or making something that requires some amount of artistic or creative talent.

Finally, certain types of independent sales and computer technicians may face exemptions.

In general, in order to qualify for overtime exemptions, a person must usually enjoy a salary position that pays above a certain threshold, or receive hourly compensation above a certain threshold. These thresholds fluctuate from time to time.

If you have concerns about your overtime eligibility, or believe that your employer is not treating you fairly in regards to your time on the job and how you are compensated, you can consult with an experienced attorney who understands how to defend employees' rights in the workplace.

Source: FindLaw, "Minimum Wage and Overtime Basics," accessed Aug. 04, 2017

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