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Exempt Employee on Layoff Status

An exempt employee is currently on a temporary layoff status until they are needed to return to work. The employer requests for the exempt employee to come into the office due to the conduction of an internal investigation. Is the time spent in the office answering questions compensable and, if so, how much time is compensable?

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments. Any company/organization with annual dollar volume of sales or receipts of $500,000 or more is considered a covered enterprise under the FLSA.

Under the FLSA, employees are either non-exempt or exempt. Non-exempt employees must be paid for all hours worked and are subject to overtime and minimum wage requirements prescribed by the FLSA. Conversely, exempt employees receive a fixed predetermined salary and are excluded from overtime pay provisions.

An employer must pay an exempt employee his full predetermined salary amount free and clear for any week in which the employee performs any work without regard to the number of days or hours worked. However, there is no requirement that the predetermined salary be paid if the employee performs no work for an entire workweek.

So, the question is whether answering questions for an investigation constitutes work performed. The answer is generally no since doing so is not part of the employee’s regular work responsibilities. Occasional contact with an employee who is on leave, such as a furlough, is not considered work time as long as the communication is for informational purposes only and the employee is not actually performing work duties.

This entry was posted on Sunday, July 12th, 2015 at 6:57 pm and is filed under
Compensation, Labor Laws.
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