Mason-Draffen, a business reporter, writes a column about workplace issues.
DEAR CARRIE: I am a store manager for a major retailer. During the interview for the job, I learned at the very end that I would have to work at least 44 hours a week without earning overtime. While I was not happy about that prospect, I accepted the job because I knew that employers, by law, didn't have to pay managers time and a half when they worked more than 40 hours a week. My question concerns how the hours appear on my pay stub. I am paid twice a month and my hours are listed as follows: "regular pay: 80 hours; "overtime pay: eight." My salary is listed for the 80 hours but no dollar amount follows the overtime designation. Still, since the eight extra hours are clearly listed on my pay stub, shouldn't I receive the overtime pay for them? -- Overworked
DEAR OVERWORKED: If you truly fall into the management category, your company doesn't have to be as rigorous with record keeping for you as it must be for hourly, or nonexempt employees. Those workers have to be paid for all the time they work and must earn overtime when they work more than 40 hours a week.
On the other hand, as a manager, or an exempt employee, you could work 20 extra hours a week and your company wouldn't have to pay you for them. So the hours recorded have less significance in your case.
"Bona fide exempt managers need not have their total hours worked (each workday and workweek) nor overtime hours recorded," said Irv Miljoner, who heads the Long Island office of the U.S. Labor Department.
Managers fall into the executive category and are exempt from overtime and even minimum wage. To preserve those exemptions, companies have to pay the exempt employees at least $455 a week and must guarantee that salary, unless those workers miss a full day of work for personal reasons.
Companies cannot designate someone as a manager willy-nilly.
In addition to the salary requirements, their primary duties must involve managing and they must supervise at least two full-time employees.
DEAR CARRIE: I have been unemployed since April. I am a mature, experienced administrator with excellent skills and am constantly applying for jobs. Since April, I have had about 12 interviews with no offers. Because of my age, I just don't see any job prospects. Many companies prefer someone younger who can give them more years on the job. In the meantime, my unemployment benefits expire next month. What are my prospects for a benefits extension, given my unsuccessful efforts to find work? I know that many extensions available during and immediately after the recession have been scaled back. -- Long-Term Unemployed
DEAR LONG-TERM: You noted that you became unemployed in April. That is key. People who filed their original unemployment benefits claims between March 18 and June 17 of this year could be eligible for one to 14 weeks of federal emergency unemployment compensation, according to the State Labor Department's website. That's beyond the 26 weeks of regular unemployment benefits.
But here's a wrinkle: If you receive those extended benefits, your payments will be reduced 10.7 percent because of federal sequestration, or mandatory budget cuts.
As with all unemployment issues, the Labor Department suggests that you call its Telephone Claims Center because the department determines claims on a case-by-case basis.
You can reach the center at 888-209-8124.
For more on federal record-keeping requirements and managers, go to http://bit.ly/15ewgTR
For more on unemployment-benefit extensions, go to http://bit.ly/17luVKn