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What does it mean to be an hourly employee?

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2023 | Wage & Hour Law

There are a few classifications of employees under California and federal law; one of the most common is the hourly type. This is what it means when you’re considered an hourly employee and the laws pertaining to your job and pay.

Understanding hourly employment

Under the federal wage and hour law, an hourly employee is a worker who is paid by the hour. This differs from salaried employees, who are paid on an annual basis. Most hourly employees are considered non-exempt, which means they are entitled to be paid one-and-a-half times their regular hourly wage for every hour worked over the 40-hour workweek.

As a non-exempt hourly employee, you are also entitled to the federal or state minimum wage, whichever is higher. In California, the hourly minimum wage is $15.50 per hour as of Jan. 1, 2023, which is much higher than the current federal minimum wage.

Non-exempt employment defined

As most hourly employees are considered to be non-exempt, it means they are entitled to at least the minimum wage in their state or at the federal level and must be given the opportunity for overtime work and pay. Most non-exempt employees earn under $684 per week or $35,568 per year and work in positions that require difficult, physically demanding jobs. Some examples include construction workers, janitors and factory workers. They report to direct supervisors, foremen or project managers.

These types of hourly workers usually don’t do any type of work considered to be a profession. For example, positions involving skills such as teaching, sales and administrative tasks do not fall under the hourly/non-exempt category.

If you are an hourly employee, your employer must pay you overtime when you work over the standard 40-hour week. Failing to do so would violate applicable law and give you cause to file a complaint.