Alabama generally does not have laws governing wage and hour practices. Employers in Alabama largely adhere to federal law, including regulations affecting salaried employees.
Minimum Salary and Exemptions
Employees in Alabama who are paid a salary and are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime pay provisions do not have to be paid overtime. This group -- which includes executive, administrative and professional employees -- must receive a minimum salary of $455 per week as of this publication. Salaried employees who are not exempt from the FLSA must receive at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour plus overtime at 1 1/2 times their regular pay rate for work hours over 40 in a week.
The FLSA does not limit the number of hours an employer may require an employee to work. Salaried-exempt employees receive a fixed amount of pay, which is not based on hours worked, though the employer may set a limit such as 45 or 50. In general, weekly salary cannot be docked if the employee performs any work at all during the week; it can only be docked for weeks in which she does no work. A salaried-nonexempt employee's pay is based on hours worked. In this case, salary can be docked if the employee does not work the required hours.
An exempt employee's salary may be deducted if permissible under the FLSA.
On-call pay is based on whether the employee can use his time freely, for his own purposes, while on call. For example, he is relieved of all duties at 6 p.m. and is waiting at home to be engaged. This employee can use his waiting time freely and does not have to be paid for being on call. Conversely, an employee who is summoned to the employer's premises and is unable to leave while on call cannot use his time freely and must be paid for being on call. A salaried-exempt employee does not have to be paid for being on call because his pay is not based on hours worked. A salaried-nonexempt employee is eligible for on-call pay.
Nonexempt employees, both salaried and hourly, in Alabama cannot be given paid time off, or compensatory time, in lieu of overtime wages. They must receive actual overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours in a week. Compensatory time may be granted to exempt employees.
Alabama is an at-will employment state. An employer can terminate a salaried or hourly employee for any reason, provided no federal or state law or employment contract is violated. Alabama does not have general anti-discrimination laws. For the most part, employees in the state are protected from wrongful termination -- such as breach of contract, discrimination and retaliation -- by federal law. Alabama has an age discrimination law that forbids employers with 20 or more employees from discriminating against job applicants and employees who are 40 and older.
Employees who are accidentally injured on the job may qualify for workers' compensation, which is administrated by the Alabama Department of Labor. Qualified recipients get 66 2/3 percent of their average weekly pay in workers' compensation as of this publication. An employer can keep paying an employee's salary instead of giving workers' compensation. In this case, the employer must report the injury and salary payments to the insurance company and state labor department.
Employees in Alabama may report employers that violate federal wage and hour laws to the United States Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division. State-regulated issues, such as workers' compensation, may be reported to the Alabama Department of Labor.