Tennessee Salaried Employees Laws

January 29th 2024

In Tennessee, salaried employees are individuals who receive a predetermined fixed amount of compensation at regular intervals, such as weekly or less frequently.

There are specific Tennesse labor laws and regulations in place that outline the rights and obligations of both salaried employees and their employers. 

This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the laws and regulations that apply to salaried employees in Tennessee. It will cover various aspects including pay, break and leave entitlements, as well as the distinction between exempt and non-exempt employees.

This article covers:


Payment of Wages for Salaried Employees in Tennessee

Employers in private employment are required to pay their employees at least once per month.

If an employer pays wages once monthly, any outstanding wages or compensation earned before the first day of a month must be paid no later than the fifth day of the following month.

In Florida, employers who make wage payments in multiple periods per month have specific rules to follow regarding the timing of wage payments.

Firstly, any wages or compensation that have been earned but remain unpaid before the first day of any month must be paid no later than the twentieth day of the following month.

Additionally, for wages or compensation earned and unpaid before the sixteenth day of any month, they must be paid no later than the fifth day of the succeeding month.

Deductions from Employee Salary in Tennessee

The employer must obtain the employee’s written agreement before deducting any amounts owed by the employee, and the employer must have a copy of the signed agreement when making the deduction.

In general, employers cannot make deductions from employee paycheck without their consent, unless they have signed a written agreement allowing for such deductions.

An employer can reduce an employee’s pay as long as they notify the employee before any work is performed.

Overtime Pay for Tennessee Salaried Employees

Employers cannot avoid paying overtime compensation to salaried employees based solely on their job classification.

For non-exempt salaried workers, calculations are necessary to determine their overtime rate:

First, the salaried employee’s wages are converted into an hourly wage equivalent by dividing the weekly salary by the number of hours the salary is intended to cover.

Once this calculation is done, it becomes possible to determine the amount of overtime pay the employee should have received.

Overtime Exemptions for Tennessee Salaried Employees

It is important to understand that not all employees are eligible for overtime compensation. Some salaried employees who receive a fixed salary are not entitled to receive additional pay for working overtime.

To be considered exempt from overtime, an employee must earn a minimum of $684 per week and hold specific positions that fall under executive, administrative, or professional categories.

Additionally, computer employees who earn at least $684 per week or $27.63 per hour are also exempt from overtime pay.

Learn more in detail about Tennessee Overtime Laws.

Time Tracking of Salaried Employees’ Hours in Tennessee

Salaried employees are compensated with a fixed salary, irrespective of their working hours, which eliminates the need for them to monitor work hours and lets them concentrate on tasks within reasonable timeframes. Nevertheless, keeping records and timesheets of work hours can be beneficial in scenarios such as unplanned absences, vacations, holidays, and sick days.

Furthermore, tracking payroll work and ensuring compliance with overtime hours (if applicable based on company policies) can be significant. Although 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.

Salaried Employees on Fluctuating Workweeks in Tennessee

Fixed-salary employees have the option to receive overtime compensation using the Fluctuating Workweek Method (FWW), which entitles them to one-half times their regular hourly rate.

In order to qualify for FWW, the employee must have a work schedule that varies from week to week and must earn a minimum of $7.25 per hour.

Break Entitlements for Salaried Employees in Tennessee

According to state law, employees must be given a 30-minute unpaid meal or rest period if they are scheduled to work six consecutive hours, unless their workplace naturally allows for sufficient rest or breaks.

Examples of such workplaces include the food/beverage industry or security positions.

Not providing the required 30-minute break is a violation of state law.

There are no additional break requirements specified by the state.

Leave Entitlements for Salaried Employees in Tennessee

Salaried employees in Tennessee are entitled to various types of leave. Annual leave is available to employees who work at least 1,600 hours per year, with the amount earned per month depending on years of service.

Sick leave allows full-time employees to accumulate one day per month for various purposes, including personal illness, medical appointments, and caring for family members. Maternity leave of up to four months is available for eligible employees who have been with their employer for over a year.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides unpaid leave for qualifying reasons. Holiday leave is granted for certain state and religious holidays.

Jury duty leave is provided, with compensation for absences exceeding three hours. Voting leave allows eligible voters up to three hours of paid time off to cast their vote.

Bereavement leave includes three paid days for the death of an immediate family member. Educational leave offers paid time off for educational pursuits that benefit the agency.

Military leave is available for members of the Armed Forces, National Guard, and Civil Air Patrol. Special leave without pay can be requested in specific situations, and compensatory time can be earned for exempt and non-exempt employees.

Administrative leave may be granted for state-administered assessments or platelet donation through the Pheresis Program.

Termination of Employment for Salaried Employees in Tennessee

When an employee in Tennessee leaves or is terminated from their job, it is mandated by law that they receive full payment for all wages or salary earned. 

This payment must be made no later than the next regular payday following the date of dismissal or voluntary departure, or within twenty-one days following the date of discharge or voluntary leaving, whichever is later. 

The law does not provide any exemptions in this regard.

Regarding the return of items such as uniforms, an employer can only withhold an employee’s paycheck until those items are returned if there is a written policy or agreement signed by the employee.

Furthermore, when an employee separates from their employment, the employer is not required to pay all wages on the separation date. Instead, they are obligated to pay all wages or compensation owed on the regular payday that follows the date of separation or within 21 days thereafter, whichever is later.

Violation of Salaried Employees Wages Payment Tennessee

In Tennessee, employers who violate the Payment of Wages Act can face a civil penalty of $100 for each violation.

Employees have the right to seek compensation for unpaid wages, and they may be able to recover up to three times the total amount of wages owed, along with any associated costs and attorney’s fees.

Under federal law, employers who fail to properly pay overtime wages may be held responsible for up to double the amount of unpaid back wages.

Additionally, they may be required to cover the costs and attorney’s fees incurred by employees in pursuing their claims.

These cases can be pursued by overtime pay lawyers on a collective or class basis, representing all workers who were affected by the same unlawful pay practices.

Learn more about Tennessee 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.