It's about duties, not dollars

Nov 01, 2007

Q. One of my technicians wants to become the practice manager. I want to pay her a salary and not pay overtime if she goes over 40 hours. She'd still handle some technician and receptionist duties. Can I pay her salary and not pay her overtime?

Philip Seibert
Probably not, says Phil Seibert, author, speaker, and consultant with SafetyVet in Calhoun, Tenn. The IRS and the Department of Labor have made it clear that to be exempt from overtime, an employee must be almost exclusively administrative.

"She should not be paid on a salary if she's doing the manual work of a certified veterinary technician," Seibert says. The Fair Labor Standards Act is based on a 40-hour workweek, and any employee who isn't strictly administrative and has to work overtime will have a valid complaint to take to the Department of Labor.

"I can't tell you how many times I've heard practice managers complain that the owner was working them way beyond their expectations just because they were salaried," Seibert says. "On the other side, owners complain that managers aren't working enough hours because they're not getting overtime."

To avoid frustration on both sides, if the new practice manager will be handling "production" duties like receptionist and technician work, Seibert recommends you pay her hourly and overtime.