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Non-exempt Pay for Social Events

If a customer or vender invites my non-exempt employee(s) to dinner or to lunch to show their appreciation, is that compensable?

Compensable time worked is determined by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The general rule of thumb is that employees who are suffered or permitted to work must be compensated for such time. So, an employee who is mandated to attend an after-hours work related dinner must be paid for the time. However, if the employee’s attendance is completely optional and the dinner/event is not primarily for business related purposes then the time is not compensable.

Since compensable time is a common wage dispute, it’s best to be clear to the employees that they are not required to attend these events, attendance is completely at their discretion, time spent at such events is not considered work time and they will not be compensated. Be sure to consider whether the employees feel pressure in any way to attend these events. Any perception of mandatory attendance increases the risk of a wage violation.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 15th, 2015 at 9:58 pm and is filed under
Compensation, Labor Laws.
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2 Responses to “Non-exempt Pay for Social Events”

  1. Jordan Says:

    Great overview of this – it’s important to note the distinction between a mandated after-hours dinner or an optional one. Thanks for sharing!

  2. hrlady Says:

    Thanks for the comment, Jordan!

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