Journalists, Reporters Not Always Exempt from Overtime Pay

If you work as a journalist or reporter, chances are that you work long and often unpredictable hours. This hectic work schedule could easily require that you rack up many hours during the week - hours that could make you eligible for overtime pay if they exceed 40 hours in one week.

But you also may have been told by your employer that since you are in a "creative" field you are exempt from overtime pay and therefore not eligible for time and a half of your normal hourly rate for the hours worked past 40.

This is not always the case.

The Houston, Texas fair overtime lawyers in our office have seen the paychecks of many journalists and reporters suffer because of false information. It is always worth asking an experienced attorney to analyze your situation to ensure that your paycheck is what it should be.

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, not all of the duties that journalists or reporters perform make them exempt from overtime pay. The FLSA determines that there are two types of duties that journalists and reporters perform - creative and non-creative.

Unlike typical non-creative jobs like factory workers or office personnel that involve routine mental, manual, mechanical, or physical work, creative jobs are usually in the following fields:

  • Writing

  • Acting

  • Music

  • Graphic arts

These professions require invention, imagination, originality, or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor. A creative professional is exempt from overtime if and only if the following are true:

  • His or her primary job duties involve invention, imagination, originality, or talent in writing, acting, music, graphic arts, or other recognized field or creative endeavor;

  • The creative professional makes at least $455 per week.

What if you are a journalist or reporter in Houston not receiving overtime but also not falling under the creative professional exemption?

There are certain tasks that many journalists or reporters perform that have nothing to do with being creative, and therefore would not make them exempt from overtime pay. Some of the most common non-creative tasks according to the FLSA include:

  • Gathering information for stories;

  • Checking facts;

  • Collecting and organizing public information.

If you are a journalist or reporter who is exempt from overtime pay but does not perform creative work, it is imperative that you contact the lawyers who dedicate their practice to fair overtime in Houston, Texas . The lawyers at Kennedy Hodges wrote a book on this subject entitled Ten Biggest Mistakes that Can Hurt Your Wage and Overtime Claim, and you can request your free copy by calling 888.449.2068 today. The lawyers also can sit down with you - for free - and give you a complete analysis of your job description, job duties, and how they relate to overtime pay.