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Old 08-20-2008, 11:56 PM   #21
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My 27 years of programming were all exempt, at aerospace and financial service firms. I had a strict policy of only working overtime if paid (straight-time) or comp-timed. This was only a real problem at one of my 4 jobs, where they expected 50 hrs regardless of productivity. I only lasted a year there. At my last job (8 years) I was lectured sometimes on this, but still left faithfully at 1:30 - 2pm each day (5:30 - 6am arrival) except for real emergencies (not meetings), which I comp-timed. This would probably have been a problem if I planned to move down into management, but for the most part it caused no real grief.
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Old 08-21-2008, 07:58 AM   #22
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I got paid overtime as an exempt employee once, but it was a rare combination of factors that caused it. At our company, the only exempt that got paid overtime were those who were specifically supporting production in a direct way (I was a team leader for an hourly shop floor production team). I got paid hourly if I had to come in on a day I was not normally scheduled to run production. If I just came in to catch up on office work or whatever, I did not get paid.
That is a fairly common scenario in the Chicago-land area Dave.

BTW..... if you want to make this discussion really confusing, try mixing the concept of exempt and non-exempt compensation status with the concept of direct and indirect labor expenses. Many assume exempt = indirect and non-exempt = direct. But, of course, this isn't always true.

This discussion is way, way too much like w*ork. It's Thursday morning and DW and I are leaving for three days of kayaking in northern Wisconsin in a few minutes. There will be no pay for this, straight or overtime, exempt or non-exempt, direct or indirect. But there will be great benefits!
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Old 08-21-2008, 09:41 AM   #23
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Thanks for the responses. I don't know that I have any more clarity to this than when I started. I have contacted the speaker that said mandated overtime = pay even for salaried folks. Maybe he can clear all this up!

In my field, overtime pay varies from company to company. Many don't pay at all for "professionals". Some pay hourly, so you get straight time for whatever you work over 40 (as long as it is billable). Some firms authorize overtime in limited circumstances on certain projects when the fee structure on projects allow it. Some give comp time. Some factor in overtime to bonuses.

I'm in consulting, so in general one extra hour of my time billed (and subsequently collected) equates to a certain amount of revenue for the firm sufficient to pay me straight overtime. However I get zero overtime pay, and zero comp time. You may not find it strange that my hours worked a total of only 2.25 hours of overtime for the year.
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Old 08-21-2008, 12:03 PM   #24
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I think what the law says and what is commonly practiced at big companies aren't the same thing.

I agree with Martha also, that exempt means "exempt from being paid overtime". From what I understood from my reading of the various laws, the flip side of that designation is that if you have to take some time out in the middle of a work day for a personal appointment, as long as you showed up that day then you were not required to take, say, 2 hours vacation time. The logic was that submitting for 2 hours of vacation was tantamount to implying you were being treated as an hourly employee.

If this is correct, this portion of the law is obviously not trumpeted to the exempt employees. I never had the guts to try it, and always tried to get my time in and work done by staying late or coming in early, or whatever.

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IIRC, there was someone from Microsoft or Boeing (up there somewhere) who got pissed off and sued their company... seemed that they would dock people for leaving early but not pay overtime... he said that he was non-exempt and should be paid overtime.... the company lost and paid out hundreds of millions...

One of the problems is companies will say someone is exempt but in reality they are not...
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Old 08-21-2008, 01:22 PM   #25
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... ... seemed that they would dock people for leaving early but not pay overtime...
The legality / illegality of the matter aside, and assuming this person was a "knowledge worker", I have never understood why employers treat employees in this way. Depending on the nature of the work, it is sometimes better to stop work early for the day rather than force oneself to do marginal work that might, at best, have to be redone later.

Well, assuming a lot of things. That the reason for leaving is valid, (not to go party), that work will be made up later or is already ahead...
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Old 08-21-2008, 02:00 PM   #26
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To further add to the confusion, there are three categories under which an employer can claim an employee exempt - Executive, Administrative and Professional. Administrative and Professional are the two categories that are most abused by employers.

There have been several cases where folks in the IT industry have sued and won. Most in this industry are classified as exempt under the Professional category, regardless of title or responsibility. Those that have won, have shown that while their skills are indeed specialized, their work frequently consists of repeated, documented procedures - particularly when called after hours for failed systems.

As such, it has been held that they do not meet the criteria laid out for the Professional exemption. That is, they are not working independently using analytical skills specific to a particular problem. Instead, they are following a checklist, often escalating to others once all steps have been followed.

This is often the case with first/second level IT support staff, who are typically the ones carrying the cell phones/pagers after hours, and being forced to be on standby with no pay due to their exempt status. It's also one of the arguments being made in the current class action lawsuit against Apple.
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Old 08-21-2008, 02:14 PM   #27
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To further add to the confusion, there are three categories under which an employer can claim an employee exempt - Executive, Administrative and Professional. Administrative and Professional are the two categories that are most abused by employers.

There have been several cases where folks in the IT industry...
In my research I noticed there is now another category for "IT Professional" or something to that effect that has additional guidelines a bit different from the regular "Professional" category.
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Old 08-21-2008, 02:14 PM   #28
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I'm a fed employee and exempt from FLSA laws. I can't work over 40 hours without prior approval from management. Since we are broke, I've only been offered comp time, never over time. Fed law limits OT pay, so my OT pay is the same as my straight pay.
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Old 08-21-2008, 03:52 PM   #29
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In my research I noticed there is now another category for "IT Professional" or something to that effect that has additional guidelines a bit different from the regular "Professional" category.
I'm not certain, but I think that's a state thing. California has laws specific to the IT industry, but what they are and how they take precedence (or not) over federal law, is probably best left to somebody who knows what they are talking about...and that wouldn't be me.
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Old 08-21-2008, 08:49 PM   #30
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That is a fairly common scenario in the Chicago-land area Dave.

BTW..... if you want to make this discussion really confusing, try mixing the concept of exempt and non-exempt compensation status with the concept of direct and indirect labor expenses. Many assume exempt = indirect and non-exempt = direct. But, of course, this isn't always true.

This discussion is way, way too much like w*ork. It's Thursday morning and DW and I are leaving for three days of kayaking in northern Wisconsin in a few minutes. There will be no pay for this, straight or overtime, exempt or non-exempt, direct or indirect. But there will be great benefits!
thanks. Not confusing to me to mix with direct vs. indirect...I did product costing work for 3 years.

And excuse my naivite (sp?), but DW = _____ wife?
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Old 08-21-2008, 09:21 PM   #31
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Old 08-22-2008, 10:37 AM   #32
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Here's a little follow up note: After emailing the speaker, he called me this morning to clarify what he was saying about paying for overtime.

Apparently, case law (state and federal) and state laws are where you see payment required for imposed overtime for salaried workers. He mentioned a particular case in NY and mentioned CA more generally. So it may very well vary greatly from state to state. He said in NY the case at issue turned on the definition of what is salary. Work required beyond that which is contemplated by "salary" is overtime. For example, construction administration on a Saturday that is outside of the 9-5 work week would require paid overtime, even for salaried personnel. Even if the person was a higher level professional/manager doing CA. I suppose if their job description called for flex time, nights, and weekend work (adding to 40 hours), overtime would not be required.

At some point, I'll need to look at my state's specific laws and case law.
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Old 08-22-2008, 03:38 PM   #33
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Same here. We have a paper sign in, sign out sheet. We also have a computer timesheet that we have to log into, saying how many hours we worked each day. It has to add up to exactly 80 for each two week time period, and if it is less then our annual leave (vacation) time is applied. Our timekeeper reconciles the paper sign in sheet with the computer. The same is true for management.
I haven't seen a response to this post yet. I'm not a lawyer, so I hate to comment, but this one seems pretty plain. If I were in this position, and didn't like the situation, I think I'd talk to a few co-workers and see if we couldn't pool enough money to hire an attorney.
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Old 08-22-2008, 04:07 PM   #34
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I haven't seen a response to this post yet. I'm not a lawyer, so I hate to comment, but this one seems pretty plain. If I were in this position, and didn't like the situation, I think I'd talk to a few co-workers and see if we couldn't pool enough money to hire an attorney.
We can wait for Want2 to respond, but my gut feel is that she is content with the status-quo, with 16 months and 1 week to go, if I remember correctly.
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Old 08-22-2008, 04:16 PM   #35
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To further add to the confusion, there are three categories under which an employer can claim an employee exempt - Executive, Administrative and Professional. Administrative and Professional are the two categories that are most abused by employers.

There have been several cases where folks in the IT industry have sued and won. Most in this industry are classified as exempt under the Professional category, regardless of title or responsibility. Those that have won, have shown that while their skills are indeed specialized, their work frequently consists of repeated, documented procedures - particularly when called after hours for failed systems.

As such, it has been held that they do not meet the criteria laid out for the Professional exemption. That is, they are not working independently using analytical skills specific to a particular problem. Instead, they are following a checklist, often escalating to others once all steps have been followed.

This is often the case with first/second level IT support staff, who are typically the ones carrying the cell phones/pagers after hours, and being forced to be on standby with no pay due to their exempt status. It's also one of the arguments being made in the current class action lawsuit against Apple.
I worked for CSC in California in the IT field and experienced this first hand. We were "exempt" but then they sent out a company wide email that we were all required to work 44 hours a week from now on to help them sponser their losing Tour de France team or something. Long story short 5 years and a class action suit later we got about $3k back each and the lawyers got ~$20 mill.
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Old 08-22-2008, 04:29 PM   #36
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We can wait for Want2 to respond, but my gut feel is that she is content with the status-quo, with 16 months and 1 week to go, if I remember correctly.
Yes - - with 443 days to go, the idea of hiring a lawyer at my own expense to sue the Federal Government over a few minutes, this in order to meet somebody else's preconceptions, doesn't exactly ring my bells, strangely enough....
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Old 08-22-2008, 05:02 PM   #37
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There have been a number of times when my company has required exempt employees to work overtime to meet a deadline. We are currently is such a situation. Most are non-exempt but several are exempt. What has always happened over the almost 30 years I've worked for them is that shortly after the conclusion of the project they will pay very nice bonuses to those that have sacrificed, including those that were paid overtime since they recognize that they too have made significant sacrifices. The exempt employees will get much larger bonuses of course.

I was not aware of any legal requirement to pay exempt employees for overtime they are required to work by the company.
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Old 08-22-2008, 06:09 PM   #38
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FYI, there are some special rules regarding overtime for federal and state government employees. These rules make it pretty easy for the government to designate employees as exempt. So, W2R, you are probably SOL.
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Old 08-22-2008, 06:16 PM   #39
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FYI, there are some special rules regarding overtime for federal and state government employees. These rules make it pretty easy for the government to designate employees as exempt. So, W2R, you are probably SOL.
Exactly - - we are exempt, and yet we are still required to sign in. But a lot of people think we don't have to, and that's what I meant by his preconception. As far as I have been able to discern, my situation is the norm for federal scientists and engineers (and lawyers, none of whom I have known to sue about it). For whatever reasons, many people think we have a much more "cush job" than we have.

Not that it's not "cush"!! Just not THAT sweet.
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Old 08-22-2008, 06:18 PM   #40
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We have a paper sign in, sign out sheet. We also have a computer timesheet that we have to log into, saying how many hours we worked each day. It has to add up to exactly 80 for each two week time period
I've worked at several places that had systems like this. I always tallied my hours accurately and invariably they add up to more than 80. If I'm in an exempt position and someone further down the accounting chain wants to "correct" my entries to total exactly 80, they are welcome to do so. Or, I want to be told explicitly to falsify records to make them total exactly 80. Curiously no one has ever done so.
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