Can My Employer Change Me from Hourly to Salary?

by Evil HR Lady on July 23, 2019

I woke up this morning to three emails from people asking essentially the same question: Can my manager stop paying me overtime by declaring that I’m a salaried employee? While giving an entirely correct answer would involve looking carefully at the job description, the answer is almost always no.

Human resources manager and employee-relations expert Rebecca Goldbach says, “Everyone is born non-exempt.” Non-exempt means that you are subject to the rules in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This means that if you work more than 40 hours in a workweek, you are eligible for overtime. (The federal government, of course, has exempted itself from portions of this law, but business owners must follow it. And, California, of course, has made it more complicated and says you are eligible for overtime if you work more than 8 hours in a single day.)

To be exempt from overtime requirements, you have to meet specific standards. You have to have a minimum salary level, you have to receive the same pay every week regardless of the hours you work (with some wonky IT exceptions), and you must meet the duties test. 

To keep reading, click here: Can My Employer Change Me from Hourly to Salary?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Tim C. July 23, 2019 at 1:18 pm

The prevalent violation I used to observe was a professional was considered exempt yet they still punched a clock. If late for their assignment they were penalized yet not compensated if needed to work beyond quitting time.


Evil HR Lady July 24, 2019 at 12:12 pm

This is totally illegal. If you dock pay, you have to pay overtime.


Robin A July 23, 2019 at 4:29 pm

Can it be done without the employee’s consent? If a company wanted to make an hourly employee into an exempt employee, do they need the employee’s permission to do this or can they just do this?


Phil July 23, 2019 at 7:20 pm

Employee consent? Only if you boss wants your kidney. And that’s not so far fetched. Ask A Manager once had a letter about a boss who wanted to have all employees tested for a liver transplant for his brother and be fired if they refused.


Evil HR Lady July 24, 2019 at 12:14 pm

An employee cannot legally consent to give up their right to overtime pay. If they don’t qualify, they don’t qualify.

If they do qualify for exemption, the company is free to make the change, but only going foward–not backwards–and the person is free to quit if they don’t like the change.


MariaRose July 23, 2019 at 6:58 pm

Interesting that this article states towards the end, that to effectively deal with this ploy by an employer to control payroll labor recommends finding a new position before reporting this. Unfortunately, there are too many employers who either hire only part-timers and limit their hours to not have to offer benefits or they “classify” the employee as exempt and give them a “salary” at the lowest level and expect them to work unlimited hours. (I believe that exempt employees usually work a 45-hour workweek in a various type of shift).
As the article is based on employer abuse of the exempt employees, the ones who do this will claim they mainly do this to have only full-time employees whose schedule is based on business needs, plus they have a steady level of payroll dollars to control costs. Bottom-line profit is their key objective. Employees are merely pawns.


Neil Flynn March 19, 2020 at 12:21 pm

Great article. Thank you so much for sharing such a great piece article. I really appreciate.


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