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Federal Labor Laws For Salaried Employees

Labor Laws For Salaried Employees

While labor laws for salaried employees are designed to afford the same sorts of protections and benefits to all American workers, the implementation of these protections differs depending on whether someone is paid on an hourly or salary basis. Hourly workers are protected by federal minimum hourly wage standards with overtime pay equal to “time and a half.” The laws around salary workers are similar but take on their own unique flavor.

Categories of Federal Labor Laws

There are three basic protections involved in salaried employee labor laws. These are:

  • Hours Worked
  • Late Days
  • Vacation & Sick Days

These make up the backbone of the American system of worker protection

Federal Laws about Hours Worked

If you are paid a salary rather than an hourly wage, you must work the number of hours agreed upon in your employment contract to receive your salary. While 40 hours per week is considered the standard, many employment contracts differ depending on the needs of the employer. It is not uncommon to see employment contracts with as few as 30 hours per week or as many as 50 depending on the position. Be sure to refer to your state’s Department of Labor, as states have their own rules regarding the maximum hourly limit for salaried employees.

Like hours worked, overtime pay is determined by your employment contract more than any particular set of laws. Salaried employees generally do not receive overtime unless it is stipulated in the contract, which it generally isn’t.

Federal Labor Laws About Hours Worked

Differences Between Hourly Late Pay and Salary Late Pay

One of the main benefits of being a salaried employee is that your pay is not determined by whether or not you show up late to work. Even if you only work for five or six hours, you will be paid for a full day of work. The only difference is that if you don’t show up for more than a week at a time, then you won’t be paid for that week.

Of course, your employer still retains the right to terminate your employment if you show up late too often. In the event that you are terminated, your pay will be for the days between the start of your company’s pay cycle all the way to the date of your termination. This will be a pro-rated amount.

Can an Employer Legally Decrease Your Salary If It Is Stated in Your Contract?


Salary Laws for Vacation & Sick Days

While labor laws don’t require employers to give you paid vacation days or sick days, the Family and Medical Leave Act requires employers to give up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for certain medical issues. However, many employment contracts include paid vacation and sick days. In this case, the law states that people taking a vacation or sick days be paid for the full day if the hours are available.


This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. The Law Dictionary is not a law firm, and this page does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

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