When I was working in government, it was very common to receive additional vacation time or sick leave for salaried employees who had to work excessive hours on projects. Professionals such as lawyers are exempt from the overtime laws. However, sometimes employers bleed this method of pay onto non-exempt employees inappropriately. Giving hourly workers time for vacation or sick leave instead of overtime pay is illegal in Tennessee. Many people don’t know this, and sometimes you will see employees being paid for things such as inventory or busy holiday periods (like Christmas in retail) in additional vacation time at their normal rate of pay. This is especially important since most employment contracts state that you won’t get paid your accrued vacation time after termination. Your boss could offer to pay you in this vacation time, terminate you, and then you won’t even receive your regular hourly rate. You have a right to actual money when you work overtime. Know your rights.
Side note: Get a copy of your employment contract any time you agree to work. Each company has its own policies. Since it is not required to pay vacation time after termination in TN, your employment contract controls but they need to state in the contract that you will lose your accrued vacation time. Knowledge is power in employer/employee relationships. Employers already have an advantage in Tennessee, don’t further prevent yourself from getting what you have earned because of ignorance.
Not being paid for overtime? Call the Law Office of Morgan Smith to set up a time to speak with Employee’s Rights lawyer Morgan Smith about your unpaid overtime issues in Tennessee.