Nowadays, companies are adopting a few different approaches to paying and managing their teams, depending on the nature of the work or tasks.
The first method is to offer a salary. Salaried team members get paid a fixed amount of money before taxes. Their work hours can be flexible, but employees are generally required to work 40 hours a week. Some companies also combine salaried jobs with commissions or bonuses for reaching specific goals. A salary is a traditional way to pay most employees.
Another method of managing employees is to pay them on an hourly basis. It is most commonly used for services and blue-collar positions. Workers get paid based on the number of hours they work each week, and their hours are usually restricted to a certain range.
Employees might also be hired as freelancers, independent contractors, or consultants, but we’ll focus on salaried and hourly employees here.
Both salaried and hourly jobs come with benefits and drawbacks. This blog post will guide you through the different rights you have as a salaried or hourly employee and share some tips from employment lawyers to make sure your employer is following the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Salaried Employee’s Rights
Employees entitled to a salary have various rights that other employees may not have. Here are some of the most important ones:
Protection from Getting Fired without Good Cause
According to the equal employment opportunity commission, every salaried employee can only be fired for good cause. This means that the employer must have a valid reason before terminating the employee, such as poor performance or violating company policies.
If an employer fires without good cause, you may have a case for wrongful termination.
Right to Paid Vacation Time
Salaried employees have paid vacation days, depending on how many hours they work each week. The amount of days usually ranges from 10 to 25 days per year. Any employer who doesn’t give vacation time to their employees violates employment law.
Receive Your Paycheck Even if You’re Out Sick
If you cannot work due to illness, you will still receive your regular paycheck. This applies even if you are out for a long time. On the other hand, most non-salaried employees do not have this right and may miss out on paychecks if they are unable to work.
Salaried employees often receive benefits that hourly employees do not, such as health insurance, dental insurance, and 401k contributions in addition to their regular salary. Employers are not required by state and federal laws regarding employment to provide benefits to hourly employees, but many choose to do so.
Hourly Employee’s Rights
Hourly employees have a few rights that salaried employees do not. Here are some of the most important ones:
Must be supplied with reasonable accommodations
The Americans with Disabilities Act makes clear that both hourly and salaried employee positions must be allowed accommodation for disabilities in regard to job duties.
Must Get Paid Minimum Wage
All employees must get paid at least the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 per hour. Some states and localities have an even higher minimum wage that must be met. This is not the case for most salaried employees, who may get a lower amount depending on their job duties. It doesn’t matter if this is an entry-level position or something else. Overtime pay is also a right depending on state regulations and hours worked.
Employees are eligible for overtime pay, which is 1.5 times their regular pay rate. This means that they will receive a higher wage for working more than 40 hours in a week. There may also be special rules for salaried employee positions as well. Hours worked must always be tracked, whether or not the employee is carrying out main job functions or other activities or performing various client work.
Downsides to Hourly Employment
Fewer Paid Vacation Days
Hourly employees typically receive fewer paid vacation days than salaried employees. The amount of days usually ranges from 0 to 10 days per year. Employers are not required to offer paid sick days or vacation days to employees earning an hourly rate.
No Protection from Getting Fired without Good Cause
Hourly employees do not have the same right as salaried employees to get fired only for a good cause. This means that the employer can fire the employee for any reason, including poor performance, violating company policies, bad attitude, etc.
No Employer-Paid Benefits
Hourly employees typically do not receive salaried employees benefits, such as health insurance, dental insurance, and 401k contributions. This is because the employment contracts and laws do not require employers to provide benefits to hourly employees, although some jobs and employers might choose to do so. This is most common for a salaried position.
The difference in rights between hourly and salaried employees can be confusing in both salaried jobs as well as hourly positions. If you are unsure of your rights, it is best to speak with an employment lawyer. They can help you understand your specific situation and advise you on how to protect yourself. This is true for a salaried job as well as for a freelance job.
What Questions Should I Ask an Employment Attorney?
If you are considering filing a lawsuit against your employer or simply want to better understand your rights, here are some questions you should ask an employment lawyer:
- Am I eligible for compensation for overtime pay?
- What are my rights and responsibilities in regards to overtime?
- Am I entitled to skills training?
- Can my employer fire me from my position without good cause?
- What rights do employees have?
- Am I entitled to opportunities for skills training and career development for my position?
- Do I have the right to paid vacation days? What holidays are exempt from work?
- Does having a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree give me specific rights?
- Am I entitled to receive healthcare benefits, such as medical insurance and dental insurance?
- What should I do if I am not being paid the minimum wage?
- Can my employer make me work more than 40 hours per week?
- Am I required to carry out overtime work? Does this matter if I am position is on salary?
- What is an exempt versus non-exempt employee position?
- What are my rights under the fair labor standards act?
- Can I stop management from moving me to another department?
- What are my rights in regards to overtime requirements?
- Can management direct me to perform functions outside of my position’s duties?
- What are employee and management responsibilities as regards at-will employment?
- Am I allowed to share salary range information with other employees?
- Do I have the right to flexible scheduling?
- What rights do I have for filling a full-time salaried position?
- Do I have a right to disability support to carry out my job tasks?
- How can I determine if I am being fairly compensated for my skills?
- What are my rights regarding salary?
Asking some of the above questions to an employment lawyer can help you understand your specific situation and take steps to protect your rights. If you are considering filing a lawsuit against your employer, it is crucial to speak with a lawyer first. They can advise you on the best course of action and help you build a case. This is important regardless if you have a full-time salaried position or are a freelancer. When dealing with management, it’s important to have a specialist in labor law at your back. We can make sure that you get the right advice and support about dealing with your job and whether or not you have a case. We can advise you on issues concerning to overtime, qualifications, hiring, skills, the hourly wage, training, full time versus freelance employment, and more.
Contact Levine and Blit Today!
If you have any other questions about your rights as a salaried or regular employee, please contact the team at Levine and Blit. One of the employment lawyers at our law firm will be happy to help you understand your specific situation and advise you on proceeding. Dealing with job litigation can be confusing. Our employment lawyer can help with everything from wrongful termination to employment discrimination to occupational safety violations. We want to support you and your case. Reach out today for a free case evaluation.