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Are Computer Employees Entitled to Overtime Wages in North Carolina?


Information technology and computer professionals are increasingly common in our technology-driven society. As North Carolina’s economy becomes more dependent on computer and IT professionals, more employers are taking advantage of various state and federal laws exempting certain computer employees from overtime compensation.

Computer Employees Exemption

Many computer and information technology employees in North Carolina do not receive overtime because of the “computer professional exemption”. However, not all computer workers are exempt from overtime. The computer professional exemption applies to computer programmers ,coders, and architects.

To be exempt from overtime pursuant to the computer professional exemption, an employee must meet several requirements. First, a salaried employee must make at least $455 per week, and at least $27.63 per hour for hourly workers. Secondly, the employee must be a computer systems analyst, computer programmer, software engineer or other similarly skilled worker.

Other stipulations include those who work on:

  • the application of systems analysis techniques and procedures, including consulting with users, to determine hardware software or system functional specifications
  • the design, development, documentation, analysis, creation, testing or modification of computer systems or programs, including prototypes, based on and related to user or system design specifications
  • the design, documentation, testing, creation or modification of computer programs related to machine operating systems

Non-Exempt Employees

The Department of Labor makes clear that the computer employee exemption does not apply to employees manufacturing or repairing computer hardware or other computer equipment. Those who use computer software and their programs, but do not create or analyze programs, are not exempt. For example, engineers and drafters do not qualify.

Generally speaking, employees labeled as information technology specialists, systems administrators, database or web administrators, network operators and engineers, and help desk support are nonexempt. However, labels are not dispositive. Each case requires professional examination to determine whether the computer employee exemption applies.

The computer professional exemption can encompass a wide variety of computer jobs. Courts will examine what the computer employee’s primary duties are when determining whether the employee is entitled to overtime. Employee’s performing repetitive tasks (i.e., updating computers or troubleshooting), following rules and procedures set by the company, and working under close supervision may be improperly labeled as overtime exempt.

Computer Employee Overtime Attorney

If believe you have unlawfully had overtime compensation withheld, contact overtime compensation attorney Karl S. Gwaltney at or at 919.526.0450. You do not have to confront your employer alone. The overtime attorneys at Maginnis Howard have experience representing single employees or groups of employee’s in obtaining owed wages.