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The FLSA’s Protections for High Wage Earners

There is a general misconception out there that the overtime provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) only applies to low income or low wage earners.  This simply is not the case.

The overtime provision of the FLSA was enacted to achieve two basic goals.  First, it was enacted to compensate employees for working long hours.  Second it was enacted to incentivize employers to widen the distribution of available work to more employees.  As is obvious by these stated goals, neither are tied to the amount of money an employee makes.  Rather, the law is concerned with the effects working long hours has on employees’ health and wellbeing; and incentivizing employers to employ more people.  Thus, the general rule is that the overtime provision of the FLSA protects employees regardless of the amount of money that individual makes.   

This does not mean that some high wage earners may not be “exempt” from the protections of the overtime provision of the FLSA.  The burden is upon the employer to prove any such FLSA exemption.  The FLSA does exempt from its overtime protection employees employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity.  Thus, for example, the FLSA exempts a highly compensated employee (defined as making at least $107,432.00 per year) and who also meets one of the following criteria: (1) has a primary duty of managing the enterprise in which the employee is employed or of a customarily recognized department or subdivision; or (2) customarily and regularly directs the work of two or more other employees; or (3) who has the authority to hire or fire employees or whose suggestions and recommendation as to the hiring, firing, advancement, promotion or any other change of status of other employees are given particular weight. As is obvious, simply being a high wage earner does not mean you are not entitled to overtime wages. 

If you, a family member, a friend, or someone you know has questions about their rights to receive proper overtime wages, please contact the employment lawyers at LaBar & Adams, P.A. at 407-835-8968.

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