There are many pros and cons to both salaried and hourly employees. Salaried employees of course enjoy the security of a guaranteed check at an amount that can be expected regardless if they work less than 40 hours a week. This sense of security must have value in itself. Getting paid the same amount each week regardless seems nice until you are working 30 days straight for 80 hours a week if you are an exempt employee. Now that salary doesn't seem worth it and the calculation may weigh in favor of hourly work. On the other hand, hourly employees do not have that same guarantee and there must always be a trade of your time for compensation. However, overtime laws can make hourly work extremely profitable for some people and it provides an incentive that allows you to appreciate longer weeks knowing they are being compensated differently than a week where you chose or were not required to work as much.
There is a middle ground as well when salaried employees are owed overtime wages when they work more than 40 hours in a week. Many salary employees automatically assume that they are not owed overtime. However, being paid a salary does not automatically qualify you as an exempt employee. While their are several different types of exemptions to paying overtime, the primary three are the professional, administrative and executive exemptions. Being paid a salary is part of the puzzle an employer has to use to classify an employee as exempt to not owe overtime wages, it is only one piece to the puzzle. These exemptions have additional requirements like managing employees, running a department and requiring a specialized degree to perform the job.
In Mississippi, there are certain requirements you must meet within your position to truly be a salaried exempt employee. First, the salary must be at least $684 a week. Second, the salary must not be based on the quality or quantity of work performed by the employee. For example, if an employer were to have a policy of docking salaried employee pay if the employee works less than 40 hours a week, it could be evidence the employer is treating the employee as if they are being paid by the hour. However, if an employee misses an entire day or more of work then the employer can dock pay for missing an entire day of work.
Watson & Norris, PLLC, a Mississippi Employment Law Firm
The employment attorneys at Watson & Norris, PLLC have represented thousands of workers across the nation for overtime claims when employees were misclassified as exempt employees. If you are a salaried employee and believe you may be owed overtime wages, please call our office for a free consultation.