When you work excess hours during a week, you may expect that your employer will compensate you for your extra work. If you are an hourly employee, then your employer must pay you overtime for any hours you work over 80 in one week. However, if you are a salaried employee, you may wonder if you can get overtime pay. 

According to the State of California Department of Industrial Relations, there is no one clear answer when it comes to salaried employees and overtime pay. The reason why the answer could be yes or it could be no is because sometimes a salaried employee is an exempt employee. Exempt employees do not earn overtime and employers do not have to pay them overtime to be in accordance with wage laws. 


Whether you are exempt depends largely on your position with the company. If you are a professional employee, meaning you hold a license or your work is in a creative or specialized field, then you are an exempt employee. You are also exempt if you are an executive or you work in an administrative position. 

If your employer is the state or local government, then you are exempt. Exemptions also apply if you are an outside salesperson or a close relative of your employer. If you are part of a union, you also may be exempt. 

Certain professions within specific industries are also exempt. These include taxicab drivers, carnival ride operators, actors, employees of radio and television stations in certain rural areas and airline employees. 

Coverage outside overtime 

While you may not qualify for overtime pay, generally, you will have some type of coverage or agreement that will stipulate your overtime requirements and potential for other compensation. You can also always verify with the Department of Industrial Relations your status to be sure  that you are an exempt employee.