No Free Lunch! Why onboarding employees may be entitled to overtime.


Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA), an employer must pay its employees overtime at a rate of one-and-a-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay, unless that employee qualifies for an exemption under the law.  The FLSA provides multiple different exemptions upon which employers rely to avoid having to pay their employees overtime.

Two frequently applied exemptions under the FLSA are the executive exemption and the administrative exemption.  To qualify under the executive exemption, an employee generally must be in charge of managing the business and supervising others (including the ability to have significant involvement in the hiring and termination processes). See DOL Fact Sheet No. 17C.  To qualify for the administrative exemption, an employee must generally be performing job duties that are related the employer’s core business operations and have the ability to make independent decisions over matters of significance. See DOL Fact Sheet No. 17C.

However, many employers make the mistake of classifying employees as exempt upon their hire and while going thru training. While in training, salaried employees should be paid overtime hours for hours worked about 40 and should be classified as non-exempt.

Oftentimes, employees engaged in onboarding or training and learning how to perform their eventual job duties work well over 40 hours per week to ensure that they are ready to contribute to the company more quickly. Such overtime hours also include the time it takes to review or study their training materials during lunch or from home. Employees who are working these overtime hours during onboarding or training are cheated out of the overtime pay to which they are entitled because these employers classify them as exempt – all in an effort to save on the labor costs of training new employees.

If you are or were an onboard employee classified as exempt during training, you may be
entitled to compensation for unpaid overtime hours.  Please call the Shavitz Law Group at
(561) 447-8888 or email us at  info@shavitzlaw.com  to learn about your rights.