Employees Paid on a Salary Basis

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If an employee is employed solely on a weekly salary basis, the regular hourly rate of pay is computed by dividing the salary by the number of hours which the salary is intended to compensate. Example 1:  If an employee is hired at a salary of $250 and if it is understood that this salary is compensation for a regular workweek of 35 hours, or $7.14 an hour, when overtime is worked the employee is entitled to receive $7.14 for each of the first 40 hours and $10.71 (time and one-half) for each hour thereafter. Example 2:  If an employee is hired at a salary of $350 for a 40-hour week, the regular rate is $8.75 an hour. 

For employees who regularly work less than 40 hours in a workweek, state law requires that the county employer have a written policy in place that states whether the salary is intended to compensate the employee for all hours worked up to and including 40 in the workweek, or whether it compensates the employee for the regular work schedule.[1] This will affect the hourly rate, as it did in the two examples above. Also, if the salary does not compensate the employee for the full 40 hours as in the first example above, and if the employee works more than the 35 hours (or other amount) that the salary covers, the employee will have to be paid for the additional hours at the regular hourly rate up to and including 40 hours, and for any hours worked over 40 at the rate of time and one-half.

Where the salary covers a period longer than a workweek, such as a month, it must be reduced to its workweek equivalent. A monthly salary can be converted to its equivalent weekly  wage by multiplying by 12 (the number of months) and dividing by 52 (the number of weeks).  A semi-monthly salary is converted to its equivalent weekly wage by multiplying by 24 and dividing by 52. The regulations on overtime for salaried employees are found at 29 C.F.R. § 778.113.

[1]  T.C.A. § 5-23-104.  See Chapter 8.