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Is it illegal to work more than 40 hours, when you're salary, and not get paid for it?
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Is it illegal to work more than 40 hours, when you're salary, and not get paid for it?

I was complaining to my mom that I work too much, kind of voluntarily, and she said it's illegal for me to work more than 40 hours, and not get paid for it. I was trying to explain to her that when you're on salary, that's the whole point, but she says it's against the law, lol.


You both might be right. If you are truly an exempt employee, an executive who does not need to account for his time in periods of less than a full day, and you get paid a salary, then you can work as much or as little as you need to work with no additional pay. However, many employers try to get around the rules regarding exempt employees by treating them as salaried for some purposes and as hourly for other purposes. In those cases, you could successfully claim overtime pay (when you are ready to leave the job), by keeping track of your hours on your own.

I'm not sure how it works where you are, but in the UK each employee has the right to choose whether they will work longer hours under the working time regulations. There is a law that says you can't be made to work beyond a certain number of hours in the week, but each person has the right to 'opt out' of that constraint.

Whether or not you get paid overtime for any extra hours work is a contractual issue and not a legal issue.

Max Chandler
Sadly, it is quite legal. When you were hired your employer most likely had you sign a document that said you would work salary for like 40-48 hours a week for a certain amount of money. I worked salary one time and will NEVER do it again. They showed me my yearly pay and I was salivating, and my greed got the best of me. After working 50-60 hours a week and averaging my salary out-I made less than I did when I was hourly. Salary also nulls out holiday and overtime pay-which is sad.

I will never go salary again. It is a crook deal, no matter how they sweet talk you into it.

First of salaried doesn't necessarily mean Overtime Exempt. Many employer seem to think it does. The FLSA defines who may be overtime exempt. If your job qualifies as overtime exempt and you are paid on a salary basis you don't have to be paid overtime.

Read this link to see if you are legally overtime exempt.


Well if it wasn't against the law to over work and underpay, then the military wouldn't be doing that like they always have. People in the military have a set pay check, and they get no more no matter how many hours they work a day, which is why people get so upset over having to work more than others. Also since you are willing to work that much for a set pay, then its not illegal. You aren't being forced to do that job and its not deteriorating your health/or is a health hazard.

Yep Nope
Unless your contract you signed says your paid hourly or that beyond 40 hours your to get some sort of compensation then no. Your on salary, when you go on salary your supposed to negotiate a slightly higher pay to offset the inevitable overtime you won't get paid for, that is what you get paid and if there is work left to do your required to do it even if it take 140 hours a week to do it. Your moms sense of the way things should be has no relevance on the real world.

Charles Veidt
You are correct. The rules for hourly and salaried employees are not the same. Being on salary generally emans that you don't get overtime for extra hours.

Sorry, mom is wrong this time. It's not illegal.Only if you're hourly.

LYNN in FL (suspended @#*%)
Most places salaried employees are required to work at least 50 hours a week. At least where I live.
To be a salaried employee normally your are required to sign a contract stating that you will not be paid O/T after 40.
Your mom is confused about this one.

If you are management, e.g., on a salary, not hourly, you are hired to get a job done. You set your own hours in most companies. That means you do what it takes to get the job done, even if that means 50-60 hours a week.

Welcome to real world. Hopefully you will do a good job - you reward is promotion & a higher salary.

No, if you get paid salary, you get paid for 40 whether you work 40 or not.

Your mother doesn't know the law.

You are correct that salary takes into account that the employee may often work over - or even under - the standard 40 hour work week. You can always contact HR or your state's Labor Board to know the specifics abuot your state.

In the US, salaried employees are permitted to work over 40 hours (sometimes significantly) without additional pay. Your mother is wrong.

That said, if a person's salary is low, and the number of hours they work is high... and the person is consistently working effectively below minimum wage, there is a possibility of it being illegal. All depends on several factors, though, such as benefits and whatnot.

No, it is not illegal to work more than 40 hours a week if you are salaried. In fact, it usually is expected that you do.

Salary is just that, salary and it means you get paid for the 40 even if you work 100 hours or more, unfortunately.

However, it also depends on the company you work for. One company I worked for where salaried employees could get paid for the extra hours if worked over 48 or something like that. So, it is possible to get paid for more, but I think most companies it's just flat salary, period. That's how they take advantage of you.

That is one advantage of being an hourly worker. You will get time and a half and sometimes, even double and triple time. However, they also tax you more since your pay is more, so, triple time is usually not worth taking.

Edited QUIZZARD: Yes, there is such a thing as triple time where I worked. If you worked on a holiday AND it was your 7th day in a row, it was triple time!
After awhile, I DID do the math and with all the extra taxes taken out PLUS it put me in a different pay grade it actually does end up not being worth it in the end for most people.

Btw, I did NOT say "extra taxes mean triple time"???

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