Salaried employees are individuals who receive a predetermined fixed amount of compensation at regular intervals, such as weekly or less frequently.
There are specific laws and regulations that govern the rights and responsibilities of salaried employees and their employers.
The purpose of this article is to offer an overview of the relevant laws and regulations concerning salaried employees in Louisiana. It will encompass various topics, including payment, break and leave entitlements, as well as the differentiation between exempt and non-exempt employees.
This article covers:
- Payment of Wages for Salaried Employees in Louisiana
- Salaried Employees Eligibility for Overtime for Louisiana
- Exceptions to Overtime Exemptions for Louisiana Salaried Employees
- Time Tracking of Salaried Employees’ Hours in Louisiana
- Violation of Salaried Employees Wages Payment in Louisiana
- Leave Entitlements for Salaried Employees in Louisiana
- Break Entitlements for Salaried Employees in Louisiana
- Deductions from Exempt Employees’ Salary in Louisiana
- Termination of Employment for Salaried Employees in Louisiana
In Louisiana, there are no specific laws regarding payment type or frequency.
However, certain industries like oil and gas, public service corporations, mining, and manufacturing must pay their employees at least twice a month, usually on the 1st and 16th of each month.
Generally, employees across the US commonly receive their pay on a weekly, biweekly, or semi-monthly basis.
There is a widespread misconception that being a salaried employee means you are not eligible for overtime pay, leading some employers to take advantage of this to reduce payroll expenses.
However, exemption from overtime hinges on several factors beyond just the salary. Three criteria are essential for exemption: Salary Level, Salary Basis, and Job Duties.
If eligible for overtime, to calculate the overtime rate for salaried employees, the regular rate must be calculated first. This rate is the result of the salary divided by the number of hours the salary is intended to cover.
Then, if the regular hours are less than 40, the regular rate for each hour up to 40, then pay time and a half for hours over 40. If the regular hours are 40, then pay time and a half for hours over 40.
As stated above, overtime exceptions are not strictly related to salary requirements. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the following employees are exempt from overtime laws in Louisiana:
- Executive and administrative employees earning at least $684 per week.
- Outside sales employees.
- Professional employees, including artists, teachers, skilled computer professionals, etc.
- Highly compensated employees earning over $107,432 per year.
Learn more in detail about Louisiana Overtime Laws.
Salaried employees receive a consistent salary, regardless of their working hours, which frees them from the need to track hours and allows them to concentrate on their tasks within reasonable timeframes. Nevertheless, there can be advantages to maintaining records and timesheets of hours, especially in situations like unexpected absences, vacations, holidays, and sick days.
Additionally, tracking payroll and ensuring compliance with overtime hours (if applicable based on company policies) can be important. While it’s not mandatory, these records provide valuable information for salaried employees regarding tracking time off and compensation.
Learn more about US salaried and hourly employees’ time tracking.
Violating the Louisiana Wage Payment Act (La. R.S. 23:631) can lead to penalties, with employers liable for 90 days of wages at the daily rate or full wages from the demand for payment until the unpaid wages are settled, whichever is lower. Employers may also be responsible for the employee’s attorney fees.
The Act allows employees to file “summary proceedings” for unpaid wages, which are expedited hearings.
To avoid wage payment issues, employers should establish compliant policies and respond appropriately to wage demands.
Legal representation from experienced labor and employment attorneys can be valuable due to the complexities and conflicting case law related to wage disputes.
Louisiana salaried employees have various leave options available to them. Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) permits up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for reasons like caring for family members, maternity/paternity leave, or illness. To qualify, employees must meet specific requirements, including at least one year of employment and 1,250 work hours.
Emergency response leave is granted to first responders during crisis situations. Bone marrow leave is allowed for employees of companies with at least 20 workers, permitting paid leave up to 40 hours for donations. Pregnant employees in businesses with 25 or more workers are entitled to up to 6 weeks of leave for normal pregnancies and 4 months for complications.
For jury duty, employees receive full pay while serving, and employers must provide a separate day off for this purpose. Military leave provides protection and reinstatement rights for up to one year for members of the military and armed forces serving in Louisiana.
Employers in Louisiana are not required to provide adult employees with breaks during their 8-hour work shifts, unless they choose to do so voluntarily.
If breaks are given and last for 20 minutes or less, they must be paid. Employees who extend their breaks beyond this time do not have to be compensated for the additional duration. However, if the job’s nature prevents an employee from taking a meal break, they must be paid for this period.
On the other hand, minors in Louisiana are entitled to a 30-minute meal break after working continuously for 5 hours. They are the only group eligible for break laws in the state.
Deductions to salaried employee’s wages can get tricky as it could impact the employee’s exempt status if it goes below the exemption salary threshold.
There are limited exceptions where exempt employees can have their wages docked without losing their exempt status.
According to the Department of Labor (DOL) regulations interpreting the FLSA, deductions can be made for absences of one day or more due to personal reasons other than sickness or accident.
If an exempt employee is absent for personal affairs, such as attending a funeral, deductions (in full-day increments only) from their salary for the missed days will not affect their exempt status. However, the employer must have a bona fide plan, policy, or practice of making such deductions. If the absence is due to sickness or disability, deductions can only be made after the employee’s sick leave has been exhausted.
Additionally, if the absence qualifies as FMLA leave, deductions from salary for unpaid FMLA leave will not impact the employee’s exempt status.
In Louisiana, employment is generally at-will, allowing employers to terminate employees at any time, provided it doesn’t violate labor laws regarding discrimination or other unlawful practices. Two exceptions to this rule include employees with specified contract terms and union members with collective-bargaining agreements. There are also exceptions related to retaliation, such as cases involving union affiliation, filing claims, or taking time off. Wrongfully terminated employees have the option to seek legal representation and may be entitled to recover lost wages, lawyer fees, and compensatory damages for emotional distress.
Employers are required to pay employees all owed wages when their employment ends according to the Louisiana Wage Payment Act (La. R.S. 23:631). Payment should be made on or before the next regular payday or within 15 days after the employee’s resignation or discharge, whichever comes first.
Under the act, vacation pay that is accrued is considered a “wage” and must be given to employees upon termination. While employers are not obligated to provide paid vacation, those with policies granting such benefits must pay all unused vacation pay upon termination. Employers cannot force employees to give up accrued vacation.
The “use it or lose it” vacation policies generally apply in Louisiana, meaning employees must use all their available vacation time within the year.
Learn more about Louisiana Labor Laws through our detailed guide.
Important Cautionary Note
When making this guide we have tried to make it accurate but we do not give any guarantee that the information provided is correct or up-to-date. We therefore strongly advise you seek advice from qualified professionals before acting on any information provided in this guide. We do not accept any liability for any damages or risks incurred for use of this guide.