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Employment Law/exempt professional with hourly compensation


I am a physician, an exempt medical professional.  I am paid hourly for working in an Emergency Dept as a physician.  I am part time ( less than 1000 hrs per year) employee without benefits.  I am paid hourly for my services.  As an emergency medicine physician, we often must stay late "beyond scheduled hours" as it is necessary for good care.  This occurs at "change of shift" as the ER is covered 24/7/365.  We log our actual hours worked, but only get paid for "scheduled hours".  (e.g. we are scheduled for 12 hours but work 13).  Our employer only pays for scheduled hours claiming we are exempt professionals and they are not required to pay for hours worked beyond scheduled.  Is this legal?

Chris - You are not being paid correctly.  It is true that salaried exempt professionals do not receive pay for each hour of work over the regular work week, but hourly exempt professionals are entitled to be paid for each hour of work performed.  It's time to draw up a bill for services rendered and present it to your employer, including each unpaid minute of time for which you were not paid.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) contains these rules, and you can receive assistance with your claim from the federal Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division.  There should be an office in your state.  If you want to do the research yourself, it can all be found on the DOL website in the sections that talk about exempt employees.  However, you probably want to contact the Wage and Hour Division if your employer either doesn't believe you once you raise the matter, or if you are threatened with termination for having the nerve to ask to be paid properly under the law.  Hospitals have lawyers - one of them should set the payroll department straight on this law (although it is widely misunderstood).

Good luck, Chris.  

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Margaret M. deMarteleire


I can answer most questions about employment law, federal or state. I am an attorney, not an HR professional, so questions about HR careers, coursework, prospects, etc. are not within my scope.


Attorney for 20 years, currently working exclusively with employment law - FLSA, FMLA, federal contracts, pay, etc.

Temple University School of Liberal Arts, BA, Rhetoric & Communication, 1982 Temple University School of Law, JD, 1990 Certificate in HR, Cornell University ILR School, 2006

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