Author Topic: Late 50's Mom, Salaried - too many hours/$$$ - How to ask for hourly pay?  (Read 3833 times)

Future Lazy

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Hi Forum!

So, I was talking to my mom yesterday about how he has to work today (day after Christmas) just to stay caught up to everything, even though she's pretty sure she'll be the only one coming into the office today to get anything done. She's a bookkeeper for a nationwide cell tower maintenance company and makes equivalent to about $15-16/hr, if you assume 40 hours per week.

The problem she's finding is that she's working easily 50 hours a week, sometimes more, meaning she's actually making less per hour than.. Well, even me, and I do paper pushing with no formal training/25+ years experience, as she has. After she pays for her health insurance and taxes, she actually takes home less than I do (and has WAY more bills, she isn't mustachian and loves to shop...). She's pretty burnt out on working in general, and would probably be much happier with part time job.

I suggested to her that she ask her employer to move her to an hourly pay schedule, that way things are tracked more closely and more fair. Although she agreed that it would be better for her, she knows her current job is just glorified data entry (mostly entering POs and fixing other's mistakes), and doesn't think she has any bargaining power/feels extremely replaceable. Living paycheck to paycheck doesn't make her feel any more secure, but she can't imagine a world where cutting back is acceptable (status issue, "Not a kid anymore, don't want to restart my life at fifty!"). She's only been with this company a couple of years, but is one of the original people in her department, as the company has grown astronomically in that time.

Is she right, does she completely lack bargaining power without FU money?
How would you ask your employer for a switch from salary to hourly pay?

Other bookkeepers & similar:
Would it be possible for her to find part time work in the $20-25/hr range, with extensive small business management/bookkeeping experience? Examples?
Can you recommend further training, such as short courses or certifications she could complete in the accounting field that might make her more desirable?

Thanks to all for reading, and of course big thanks to anyone that responds! :)
« Last Edit: December 26, 2014, 09:38:43 AM by KaylaEM »

Shade00

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Re: Late 50's Mom, Salaried - too many hours/$$$ - How to ask for hourly pay?
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2014, 10:42:43 AM »
It is entirely possible that your mother has been erroneously classified as an exempt employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

It is a common misconception that anyone working on a salary basis is not entitled to overtime pay. Of course, if that were the case, any employer could simply pay any employee a nominal salary and require overtime of them. The law does not allow that. Rather, the real question is whether your mother's duties are such that she is considered exempt from the overtime requirements of the FLSA. If she is not exempt (and simple bookkeeping duties are unlikely to be exempt), then she is entitled to overtime pay even if she is currently paid a salary. She can file a wage and hour complaint with her state's department of labor or the federal DOL if she chooses. Alternatively, she can approach her employer and tell them she believes she should be paid overtime for work beyond 40 hours.

Exflyboy

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Re: Late 50's Mom, Salaried - too many hours/$$$ - How to ask for hourly pay?
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2014, 11:05:29 AM »
I am assuming it must depend on the State too.. I am in Oregon and my part time employer is paying me hourly even as a professional engineer.. Engineers are almost always salaried of course.

Hey I like it...:)

Frank

Future Lazy

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Re: Late 50's Mom, Salaried - too many hours/$$$ - How to ask for hourly pay?
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2014, 11:21:28 AM »
In the case of computer professionals, the employer is apparently required to treat them as exempt even if they are paid hourly, so long as the hourly wage exceeds $27.63 per hour, which means that if they work at all in a given week, they have to be paid for the entire week regardless of the amount worked.

However, in the case of non-computer professionals, the employer apparently has the option to pay hourly without the employee being entitled to the above treatment.

The above rules are described in 29 CFR 541.600.

So, I'm a little bit confused. Does "Bookkeeper" and data entry - ie. Quickbooks, and a few other various programs specific to the company she works for - count as "computer professional without a licence"? And therefore mean her salaried pay should be equal to or greater than the mentioned $27.63/hr?

However if she is just considered a "professional employee", she certainly makes more than what is listed in section (b), but is not directly compensated for her overtime.... Which is illegal, right? Or?
« Last Edit: December 26, 2014, 11:24:16 AM by KaylaEM »

Future Lazy

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Re: Late 50's Mom, Salaried - too many hours/$$$ - How to ask for hourly pay?
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2014, 11:34:16 AM »
Well, I mean, the legality of the setup didn't even occur to me initially, but I don't know how salaries really work. For example, it seems completely beyond me that she's a salaried employee, but still has to accrue vacation days on an hourly basis...? It just seemed that multiple posters pointed to this as legal quandary, and that threw me off a bit.

I think it's an interpersonal quandary - Mommy Dearest is just too chicken/financially compromised to ask for what she needs. It's as if she thinks that she's being offered the whole pie, but if she says she just wants a slice of the pie (part time instead of full time, or hourly instead of salary, can't keep up with cheap hourly 23yr old interns), she'll get absolutely nothing (fired).

Finding a part time job that brings in as much yearly as her current full time (and then some) job is the most ideal. She's also a felon (12+ years prior, drug) and won't apply to jobs that require a background check simply out of embarrassment/inability to confront her past and put it behind her. Just one of multiple reasons why she doesn't feel she has any power to negotiate higher pay/"special" circumstances. In other words, it's complicated. :')

mozar

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Re: Late 50's Mom, Salaried - too many hours/$$$ - How to ask for hourly pay?
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2014, 12:21:38 PM »
Yes its normal to accrue vacation that way. What she needs is a raise. She's not going to find a part time that pays as much as fulltime. I don't know where you live but there are programs for felons to help them get better jobs. There are some jobs that are ok with felonies but you have to apply to find out. And if she is being paid there is value in what she does. If it wasn't valued then she wouldn't be paid.