Presently, under the Federal Law, workers are entitled to overtime pay after 40 hours of work in a week, unless they fall into one of many exceptions, which are interpreted narrowly.  The exceptions are numerous, but they can be broadly categorized as follows:

Highly compensated professionals, executives, and administrators

  • Computer professionals
  • Executives,
  • Administratives,
  • Professionals


  • Aircraft salespeople,
  • Boat salespeople,
  • Farm implement salespeople,
  • Outside sales employees,
  • Commissioned sales employees,
  • Truck and trailer salespeople


  • Drivers, driver’s helpers, loaders and mechanics
  • Local delivery drivers and driver’s helpers,
  • Taxicab drivers (but ambulette and car service drivers are entitled to overtime pay)
  • Airline employees,
  • Railroad employees,
  • Seamen on American vessels,
  • Seamen on other than American vessels


  • Farmworkers,
  • Fruit & vegetable transportation employees,
  • Fishing,
  • Livestock auction workers,
  • Sugar processing employees
  • Lumber operations employees of small (less than 9 employees) firms
  • Buyers of agricultural products

Wildlife and Recreation

  • Amusement/recreational employees in national parks/forests/Wildlife Refuge System,
  • Forestry employees of small (less than 9 employees) firms,
  • Seasonal and recreational establishments



  • Babysitters on a casual basis,
  • Companions for the elderly,
  • Domestic employees who live-in


Public Servants

  • Federal criminal investigators,
  • Firefighters working in small (less than 5 firefighters) public fire departments,
  • Police officers working in small (less than 5 officers) public police departments


  • Motion picture theater employees,
  • Newspaper delivery,
  • Newspaper employees of limited circulation newspapers,
  • Radio station employees in small markets,
  • Television station employees in small markets,
  • Switchboard operators


  • Homeworkers making wreaths
  • Houseparents in non-profit educational institutions
  • Country elevator workers (rural)


New York generally follows the federal law with one very notable exception of domestic workers.  Under New York law, domestic workers have the right to overtime pay at 1½ the regular rate after 40 hours of work in a week or 44 hours for workers who live in their employer’s home.

Also, the federal overtime regulations are going to change and some of the above exceptions may go away even under the federal law.