What are a salaried employee’s rights regarding extra pay for an increased work week?

UPDATED: Feb 4, 2014

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What are a salaried employee’s rights regarding extra pay for an increased work week?

The company I have worked at for 11 year pays me a salary for a 37.5 hour work week. This has always been considered full time for benefits. They have now decided to be eligible for benefits we must work 40 hours a week. They are requiring us to increase the hours we work a week, but will not be increasing our salary. Is this legal?

Asked on February 4, 2014 under Employment Labor Law, Iowa


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

In most (but not all) instances, a salaried employee is what the law recognizes as "exempt". This means that certain labor laws do not apply to them. For example, the law regarding overtime and related pay. Therefore, a salaried employee can be required to work as many hours as their employer reasonably sees fit. For you, this means that your work week can be increased from 37.5 hours to 40 without any corresponding salary increase. While seemingly unfair, it is legal.

However, as noted above, not all salaried employees are automatically exempt. To find out if you are, you can go to your state's Department of Labor website or the US Departmet of Labor's website to find out more about exempt versus non-exempt status.

Also, notwithstanding the above, if you have an employmeent contract or union agreement to the contrary it will control. Additionally, you increase in hours must not be due to any actionable discrimination against you (i.e. must not be based on based on race, religion, etc.).

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Based upon what you have written, if you are being paid a certain amount for a 37.5 hour week as a salary and are management, you being asked to work an extra 2.5 hours per week does not mandate you being entitled to any additional compensation under the labor laws of all states in this country.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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