Both New York and New Jersey largely follow the federal standards on an important exception to overtime compensation rules.
Specifically, in many circumstances, employers may exempt administrative, executive and professional employees from overtime requirements and pay them a flat salary instead.
While this setup has its advantages, many salaried employees in New York and New Jersey wind up getting the short end of the stick.
Because their employers can require them to work however many hours are needed to get the job done without paying overtime, exempt employees might wind up working for what amounts to an hourly wage far less even than the minimum wage in either state.
Employers may not simply label employees as exempt without good reason
In both New York and New Jersey, employers are not free just to classify an employee as administrative or executive personnel and then declare them exempt from overtime.
In both states, job titles are of little relevance as to whether an employer is allowed to exempt an employee from overtime rules. The real question is what the employee actually does as part of his or her job.
Usually, exempt administrative or executive professionals have considerable leeway on how to perform their job duties and also have fairly broad decision-making authority.
Managers also will typically have to authority to hire and fire other employees or will at least have a significant say in these decisions.
The federal government and both states also have a minimum salary that an employer has to pay before claiming an overtime exemption. In New York, for example, an employer must pay at least the equivalent of $937.50 a week, or $48,750 a year.
An employee who has been told that he or she is just not eligible for overtime yet frequently works over 40 hours a week should at least be suspicious. They may wish to evaluate their legal options to see if they can claim back overtime and other compensation.