When a person enters into a work agreement with an employer, whether verbal or written, it is an agreement to exchange labor for pay. In today's society, most workers are paid one of four ways, but almost always using the same unit of pay. Workers are paid in U.S. Dollars in the form of cash, check, paycard, or direct deposit. Some workers are paid an hourly wage, others are paid a salaried wage. An hourly wage is paid in one hour increments, often with no guarantee of the number of hours to be worked. An hourly wage worker is paid one-and-a-half times the originally agreed upon rate of hourly pay when their work hours exceed forty hours in a given workweek. Salaried wage workers are paid a flat rate for a given period of time, despite the number of hours worked. Salary wage workers are not paid overtime if they exceed forty hours in a given workweek. However, most salary jobs have a minimum hours worked requirement and the employer will often times convert the employees wages to an equivalent hourly wage if the minimum hours requirement is not met. My employer does it on a regular basis. Therefore, in practical application, the distinction exists solely to prevent the employer from having to pay the employee the overtime wage for workweeks that exceed the forty hour threshold.
I am a salary worker. I get paid on a biweekly basis at a previously agreed upon rate, which has been increased through merit raises. According to the terms of the work agreement, I will be paid my salary as long as I work a minimum of forty-six hours per week for two weeks for as long as I continue my employment with the company. The payweek is Sunday through Saturday, though I am not paid until the Thursday following the second Saturday in a pay cycle. Due to having met the minimum hours worked requirement for the prior two weeks, reason may show that my pay becomes my property at the end of the last day of work for that pay period. There is not a Court in this country that would allow an employer to not pay a person their wages when the employee is due the wages because the wages are earned, which is to say, he fulfilled his obligations in the work agreement. The wages, therefore, become the property of the employee upon fulfillment of his obligations in the work agreement despite possession still being with the employer. As a result, an employees wages fall under the protections of the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution once they are earned. Consequently, the employee enjoys to same due process rights for wages earned but unpaid as the person would if it was property already in his possession.
In short, a person's wages become that person's property once they are earned, and despite that person not immediately having possession of them.