In big corporations, whether you’re an hourly or salaried employee is usually a decided by HR in order to comply with labor laws. However, many small businesses don’t have an HR employee, much less a whole department, and it isn’t unusual to find administrative support personnel classified improperly. I know that I’ve worked for several small businesses and non-profits over the years that classed me as a salaried employee, most likely incorrectly. However, since I’m weird and like being salaried, I never argued with it.
Whether or not an employee must be paid overtime is governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). FLSA contains guidelines covering which employees can be considered exempt from overtime pay. (For an overview of exemption rules, click here.) Essentially, for administrative personnel to be considered exempt from overtime pay, they must meet the following criteria:
As far as Executive and Administrative Assistants are concerned:
An executive assistant or administrative assistant to a business owner or senior executive of a large business generally meets the duties requirements for the administrative
exemption if such employee, without specific instructions or prescribed procedures, has been delegated authority regarding matters of significance.¹
If you believe you’ve been wrongly classified as a salaried employee, first discuss it with your employer. If your company has an HR department, call them and ask them to look at your classification. If your company maintains that you should be salaried, you can call the Wage and Hour Division to file a complaint.