What Is the Definition of a Salaried Worker?

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In corporate America, there is a huge designation between different types of employees. Most entry- and line level-workers are paid an hourly wage. Some of these workers get promoted to better positions, both in prestige and compensation. Often, the way workers with these better positions get paid is via a salary. Salaried workers have a whole different set of rules that regulate how these employees make a living.


According to the US Labor Code, a salaried worker is one paid on a regular schedule who receives a predetermined amount on each pay date. The payment the worker receives can be part or all of the predetermined amount. This amount cannot be changed no matter how many days or hours the employee works or the quality of the work performed. This employee must receive the agreed-upon portion of his salary each week.


According to the Book of Ezra, accepting salt from someone was the same as taking sustenance from him. That moved into the Latin word "salarium," which connected salary, salt and soldiers through the Latin word for soldier, "sal dare." One theory is that a Roman soldier was paid in salt, and the word "salary" derives from that.

The concept of salary continued to grow until the nineteenth century, when owners of companies were faced with the issue of how to pay managers whose job duties were greater and more flexible than their hourly workers, but they were not shareholders. They came up with the idea to pay a regular amount on a regular schedule, which became the basis of what we know today as "salary."


While a salaried worker, by law, must get paid a pre-determined wage in a regular fashion, the law does allow for time when a salary is not required to be paid. All of these exemptions have to do with time the employee does not spend at work. For example, an employer does not have to pay a salaried worker if she takes a full day off for a personal reason that is not for illness or disability. Also, deductions in salary can be made as a result of safety or other violations. Finally, in the week of hire or termination, an employer does not have to pay an employee's full salary, but only the wage for the time actually worked.


One of the good things about being a salaried employee is the fixed amount of a paycheck. A fixed amount allows an employee to know exactly how much she will receive in every paycheck, which makes financial planning very easy. Also, paying an employee a fixed amount each week is very easy for an accounting department to do, as the amount is known in advance. This cuts down on accounting and bookkeeping costs.


Most of the time, if an employee is on salary, he or she will not be paid overtime, no matter how many hours are worked. This allows companies to save money on payroll because they can have managers cover extra hours without having to pay them for the extra time worked. Workers can feel as if they are being taken advantage of in this situation, however, and that can lower morale.