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Part-time exempt employee

We have an employee who is catagorized as an exempt employee. She normally works 24 hours per week and receives a set salary – recently she has been working more than the 24 hours per week and wants compensation (basically she wants to be paid hourly for all hours worked beyond her 24 hours). Does the company legally have to pay her hours worked beyond her 24 stardard hours weekly?

No, from a legal perspective, you do not owe this employee anything more than her weekly salary.

We will take your word for it that the employee is truly exempt and her weekly salary is in excess of $455.

Under the FLSA, an exempt employee is not entitled to overtime when the employee works more than 40 hours per week. There is no federal law that would entitle an employee to overtime after 24 hours. An exempt employee can be required to work 100 hours per week without additional pay.

Essentially, the salary you pay her covers all the hours this employee works per week, whether that is 24 hours per week or 124 hours in the payroll week.

In a way, this employee has a point. Presumably, at some point in the past she was offered 3/5 of the usual salary to work 3/5 of the usual hours. As the employer, you have unilaterally changed that agreement and are now requiring that she work 5/5 of the usual hours without any increase in salary. That may not be fair if the employees responsibilities or workload have truely expanded, but it is legal. (On the other hand, the employee may become more efficient if she realizes that she is not going to be paid for additional hours.)

This is why the best practice in HR is to always make a part-time employee hourly, rather than exempt. It eliminates the risk of this kind of exploitation.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, July 15th, 2010 at 11:28 am and is filed under
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