What You Need to Know About Salaried Employee Rights in Georgia
In certain states, salaried employees and hourly employees receive different treatment under the law. Here’s everything you need to know about salaried employees in Georgia.
Salaried employees receive a fixed compensation each pay period, regardless of the number of hours worked. Georgia doesn’t have specific salary laws, so federal law regulates salary reduction, overtime pay, and jury duty compensation for salaried employees in Georgia.
Who Are Salaried Employees?
The Wage and Hour Division of the US Department of Labor defines a salaried employee as an individual who receives a predetermined amount of compensation each pay period on a weekly or less frequent basis.
A salaried worker’s employment contract typically determines salary based on a 40-hour workweek. The employee earns a fixed compensation regardless of the actual hours worked, meaning their salary remains the same if they work 34 hours in Week A and 47 hours in Week B, notwithstanding regulations on overtime pay.
Related: Georgia Minimum Wage FAQs
Salaried employees differ from hourly employees in that hourly employees receive compensation on an hourly basis for each hour of work performed. As such, hourly employees will not receive the same compensation if they work 34 hours in Week A and 47 hours in Week B.
Applicable Salary Laws in Georgia
Georgia has close to no general law governing salaried employee rights. Most laws applicable to salaried employees specifically concern state personnel and do not apply to the general workforce.
By default, federal law regulates salaried employee rights regarding salary reduction, overtime pay, and jury duty compensation. In other employment matters such as equal pay and minimum salary, there is no difference between hourly and salaried employees under federal and state law.
Salary Reduction in Georgia
Employers cannot reduce an employee’s salary based on the quality or quantity of work performed. If an employer improperly reduces a salaried worker’s pay, the law will no longer consider the employee as paid on a salary basis, which may entail consequences regarding overtime pay.
Similarly, if an employee is available and ready to work, their employer cannot reduce the employee’s salary when work isn’t available. For instance, an employer cannot reduce pay if their office must close due to a weather-related incident.
Federal law admits certain exceptions to salary reduction rules. An employer may reduce a salaried employee’s salary under certain circumstances, such as:
· an absence from work for one or more full days for personal reasons other than sickness and disability;
· an absence from work due to jury duty, witness duty, or military duty, provided these duties induce compensation;
· unpaid disciplinary suspensions of one or more full days for workplace violations.
Overtime Pay for Salaried Employees in Georgia
Salaried employees may qualify as exempt or non-exempt under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Exempt employees do not benefit from the FLSA overtime pay provisions, while FLSA-provided overtime pay applies to non-exempt employees. As such, salaried employees are entitled to overtime pay (or not) depending on their exemption status under the FLSA.
Salaried employees exempted from receiving FLSA overtime pay must meet the following criteria:
1. they receive a salary of at least $684 per week;
2. and one of the following situations applies:
a. they perform executive duties;
b. they perform administrative duties;
c. they perform professional duties;
d. they’re a computer employee;
e. they’re an outside sales employee.
If salaried employees do not meet the above-cited criteria, they qualify as non-exempt employees entitled to overtime pay under the FLSA. For instance, if an employee receives a salary of $700 per week but does not perform executive, administrative, and professional duties, they should receive overtime pay under the FLSA.
The FLSA sets the minimum overtime pay rate at 1.5 times the regular pay rate.
Related: Tipped Employee Rights in Georgia
Jury Duty Compensation for Salaried Employees
Salary reduction due to jury duty is legal under federal law, which allows employers to deduct the nominal fee received by the salaried employee on jury duty. For instance, if the employee received $30 per day for jury duty, their employer may deduct this fee from their salary.
An employer could not deduct more pay from a salaried employee if they performed some work during the week. The employer must pay a salaried employee their full salary (minus the fee deduction) if they spent two days on jury duty and three days working.
On the contrary, employers do not have to pay hourly employees for jury duty.