Understanding Overtime Exemptions for Employees with Computer-Related Jobs

stock image of a young black male IT professionalEmployees in certain jobs may find they are exempt from federal overtime pay requirements. Workers in this category are ineligible for time-and-a-half pay when they work more than 40 hours in a week.

The problem is many people are misclassified as exempt employees and do not know it. Many employees in computer-related occupations may be told they are ineligible for overtime pay when that may not actually be the case. There is a misconception, widely held by both employees and employers, that a job title can make you exempt from overtime.

The truth is your job title often has little to do with whether you are eligible to receive overtime pay. Rather it is more about the work you do and whether or not your job fits one of the criteria for an overtime exemption.

When Are Employees in Computer-Related Jobs Exempt From Overtime?

There are many computer-related occupations that may be exempt from overtime pay, including:

  • Computer programming
  • Software engineering
  • System analysis
  • Database administrator
  • Web developer
  • Data security analyst
  • Mobile application developer
  • Computer hardware engineer
  • Applications architect
  • And more

Employees who work in these and other Information Technology (IT) occupations may find they are not eligible for overtime pay. However, to get a more accurate answer to that question, you will need to find out if your job meets certain criteria.

According to the Department of Labor, you may be exempt from overtime pay if the following things about your job are true:

  • You get paid on a salary or fee basis and receive a minimum of $684 per week or you get paid a minimum of $27.63 per hour
  • You are employed as a computer systems analyst, computer programmer or software engineer. Or you may work in a similar computer field where your primary duties consist of one of the following four things specified by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA):
  • Conducting systems analysis, which includes consulting with users, to determine specifications for system functioning, software or hardware
  • The design, development, analysis, testing or modification of computer programs and/or systems. These activities are based on or related to user or system design specifications
  • Being responsible for the design, testing, documentation or modification of computer programs that are related to machine operating systems
  • Your job duties involve any combination of the duties listed above and the performance of your job involves the same skillset

It is important to note this exemption excludes employees who:

  • Manufacture or repair computer hardware and other related equipment
  • Have work that greatly depends on or is facilitated by using computers and computer software programs (engineering, drafting, computer-aided design software, etc.), but you are not primarily engaged in computer systems analysis and programming or similar computer-related work that is part of the computer employee exemption

Computer-Related Jobs Not Likely To Be Exempt From Overtime Requirements

Some computer-related jobs do not meet overtime exemption requirements. If your job involves the following, then you are probably not exempt:

  • Employees doing hardware installations, repairs or systems updates
  • IT support staff responding to customer needs
  • Training customers on specialized computer applications
  • Changing software settings to fit what customers need
  • Visiting customers to make sure they are satisfied with the software

It is important to specify that if you consult with a customer/user to analyze a system to determine specifications for software or hardware, you may be exempt from overtime.

What About Computer Testing?

Whether you are exempt as an employee involved in computer testing comes down to your specific role and the duties you perform.

Computer testing roles may not be exempt if they involve:

  • Computer testing to create a system
  • Determining the appropriate settings for a system
  • Conducting tests that affect a system in some other way

If, however, you are only testing to make sure a system or computer application works according to design specifications, your job is not exempt. In this type of role, you may be eligible to receive pay for overtime hours you have worked.

Contact Arnold Law Offices to Discuss Legal Options

Our Sacramento wage and hour attorneys have helped many employees recover unpaid wages. We have extensive knowledge of overtime laws and exemptions.

If you think you were illegally denied overtime pay, we strongly recommend that you seek legal help as soon as possible. We have a proven history of results, and our firm has the staff and resources to help you seek compensation.

Not sure if you qualify for overtime or have a valid wage and hour case?

We offer a completely free initial consultation to discuss your situation and help you understand if you have legal options. There is no obligation to hire our services, even if we determine you may have a case. If you choose to hire our firm, we do not charge upfront fees for our services. We are ready to assist you and help you pursue the justice and compensation you deserve.

Call Today to Discuss an Unpaid Overtime Claim. Call (916) 777-7777