Salaried Employees Work Hours: Laws from FLSA

Exempt Employees and Rules Requiring Specified Hours

You probably are aware that exempt employees generally should be paid the same salary regardless of the number of hours they work or the quantity of work they produce. But, can you require them to work a certain schedule and track their hours?

Q: Can we require salaried, exempt employees to work a specific schedule and to clock in and out for any purpose other than to track paid time off? We have several exempt managers who need to be at work during the same hours that the employees they supervise are here. But, we are concerned that if we require the exempt employees to work a certain number of hours and keep track of the hours worked, we risk that they will be considered hourly, nonexempt employees entitled to overtime.

A: Interestingly, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and its implementing regulations do not specifically prohibit employers from requiring exempt employees to work a particular schedule or to track the hours they work. In fact, the Department of Labor (DOL), in the preamble to revised exemption regulations, stated that employers may require exempt employees to work a specific schedule and to record and track hours without affecting their exempt status.

(Download a free Hours of Work model policy including HR best practices and legal background.)

However, you should be aware that if you require exempt employees to work a certain number of hours and account for their work time on an hourly basis, you may jeopardize the exempt status of these employees if the accounting has the effect of treating them like hourly workers. This practice could make the employer liable for past overtime.

For example, if the exempt employee’s salary fluctuates based on the number of hours worked or the employee’s pay is docked for hours not worked in any day, the employee most likely will not be considered exempt. (However, interestingly, the FLSA exemption regulations allow you to pay an exempt employee additional compensation without jeopardizing the employee’s exempt status. This additional compensation can be paid on any basis, including a flat sum, bonus payment, straight-time hourly amount, time and one-half, or any other basis, including paid time off.)

You generally may track hours worked for purposes unrelated to the employee’s pay (such as to account for work time billed to clients or performed under a federal contract) and may record daily attendance. And, you also must comply with applicable wage and hour recordkeeping requirements for exempt employees, such as recording the time and day of the week the exempt employee’s workweek begins and total pay for the week.

Accordingly, if you require exempt employees to work a specific number of hours or arrive at a specific time (and have them clock in and out to show that they are complying with these requirements), you need to make sure that these policies do not appear to be treating them as nonexempt, and thus jeopardize their exempt status. You best practice, then, is to show that these requirements are directly related to the exempt employees’ job duties. So, you are wise to tie the exempt employees’ required schedule to their managerial job duties, instead of simply focusing on the number of hours the exempt employees work or their starting time. For example, if an employee manages nonexempt employees who must be at work between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., you can require the exempt manager to be at work during the same hours to supervise properly.

(Download a free Hours of Work model policy including HR best practices and legal background.)

Regards,

Robin Thomas, J.D.
Personnel Policy Service, Inc.

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73 Comments

  1. 73 RJ 23 Apr
    I am a salary manager in PA with the expectations of working 5-10hour days. I work 60-70 hours a week for the most part but my question is...if I need to leave an hour early one day for an appointment...should my pay be docked? My DM makes us use a full personal day if we are short on our 10 hour days. (we don't have the authority of using our personal or vacation in hour increments) When she does that doesn't that re-class us as non-exempt? We have a set schedule and we also need to punch in and out and we are held accountable if we are late or leave early. If we have 3 occurrences in a 90 day period of being late, leaving early or calling off sick we get written up and/or possibly terminated. We do not get any extra pay when we work over the 50 hours which I understand but I feel if we need to leave early occasionally we should be able to.
  2. 72 Tammy 22 Apr
    Can an employer legally hire a prob employee, work him 8 hrs. Let him go, new employee 8 hrs, continuously. One after another, and w/out taking out taxes. And for $3 an hr. After each one.
  3. 71 Lynn Griffin 20 Apr
    I'm am on salary for $500 a week.. But I always work much more.. In the past few weeks, I've worked over 70 hrs a week.. is this legal in Alabama?
  4. 70 Jacqui 18 Apr
    I am a salaried exempt employee. I normally work an average of 45 hours per week. Recently, I left early one day to attend an appointment out of town. My employer stated I must work at least 6 hours on a work day to get paid for that day. Legally, is there a minimum number of hours required to work in a day or week?
  5. 69 Colin 04 Apr
    I work for a Hungry Howies franchise and I was hired last November and I was working 3 4 hour days and the past few months ive gone from working 3 days and 4 hours to now working 1 day and 2 hours. Is that wrong form the district manager to do to me
  6. 68 Sue 02 Apr
    I work 12 hour night shifts, 4 nights a week which equates to a 48 hour week but my employer says i can only have a 40 hour week contract....so when i take annual leave, i only get paid for 40 hrs...can you please explain how my employer works this out...thank you
  7. 67 Debra 28 Mar
    I have a wage claim with my former employer. I was a salaried employee and the week of September 7th (Labor Day) I was scheduled to start FMLA on September 8, 2015 for four weeks. In order to have required work done I worked 17 hours on Labor Day. Instead of crediting me for the 17 hours and only using 15 hours of sick leave for that week they charged me 32 hours of sick leave and are stating that I must follow the overtime policies of the company.
  8. 66 Justin reading 29 Feb
    Ok
  9. 65 Memo 18 Jan
    Need to get every bodies input
  10. 64 Don Harling 14 Jan
    I may have mixed up a few time frames that were honest mistakes. Now I am being investigated for fraud.I do paper time sheets for every client and U work for several different agencies,that have different time sheets. It can be confusing at times. I need help.
  11. 63 Lydia Dunkailo 11 Jan
    I am an exempt employee who was told I am paid salary. I have to clock in and out every day, but i don't get paid overtime. I wasn't at work for exactly 40 hours one week and they docked pay from my check! how is that legal?
  12. 62 SJ 09 Jan
    I've been changed from salaried to hourly to now clock in /out without being paid overtime. FLSA requires an employer to pay overtime, right?
  13. 61 Andre 28 Dec
    If I'm considered an hourly employee and should only work less then 32 hours per week per my employer and they want me to work one day a week on call in their office shouldn't I still be paid for that time by law?
  14. 60 Sarah 26 Dec
    I have a 48 hour contract But for the past 7 weeks been working 70/80 hours a week What should my employer be doing about this
  15. 59 Chad 18 Dec
    I have an exempt employee who has offered that during our budget crisis to suspend his pay. Are exempt employees allowed to voluntarily suspend their pay if they are working?
  16. 58 Tony 15 Dec
    Can a job work an exempt employee every day(meaning everyday with no days off)
  17. 57 Denise Reaves 11 Dec
    Is it legal to be on salary and have to work 60 to 70 hours as a road supervisor and not get paid over time for any thing over 40 hours.
  18. 56 Doug 21 Nov
    Basically, salaried exempt employees get screwed all the time for hours worked. Don't ever take a salaried position unless you're willing to work your life away or have a near or above 6 figure income. Otherwise it's not worth it because companies will bleed the life out of you and make you hate your job. In the end they really don't care about you or your life.
  19. 55 Robert 27 Oct
    I'm an exempt employee in the Quick Service Restaurant industry. I'm required to turn in my schedule one month prior and am required to schedule myself 45 hours per week. If I'm taking phone calls and answering multiple texts in excess of 5000 per month and on my scheduled days off being expected to answer and or do work benefiting my employer is this legal? It is overtaking my life and in reality I'm working 7 days a week.
  20. 54 Phillio 19 Oct
    I've worked as a supervisor/manager for five years. I have always been required to work one hour over every day. Also been required to work extra days now and then. I've have to leave early a few days due to my wife being ill. I live in Oklahoma. Can they dock me for hours I missed when I have put in so much more than forty hours. I am also asked to do non-exempt duties on a daily basis.
  21. 53 Genesis Koepp 08 Oct
    Invaluable piece - I am thankful for the insight . Does someone know if I might get access to a template 2015 FL DoR RTS-3 version to type on ?
  22. 52 J 04 Oct
    The US government congressman and senators don't care about exempt employees rights. They have financial interests in a lot of these companies so working you all to death is their benefit because they aren't working nights and weekends. It's a sad joke on anyone that says yes to exempt status. How this type of business practice can be legally endorsed by the government is a travesty and it's all about greed. Plain and simple.
  23. 51 Al 03 Oct
    I was an hourly employee with overtime which was required to do on call time. I was paid a certain amount to be on call. My employer has changed me to salary at a reduced salary of about $8500 a year from what I was making hourly with on call. I am still required to do on call time without compensation while others that are not salary employees are still being paid on call. Although I feel that this was unfair are there any laws against this?
  24. 50 Marie Andromalos 02 Oct
    My husband just got promoted at his job and now gets paid salary. We live in PA. He claims that he has to work 50 hours a week and work on weekends.Is this legal?
  25. 49 Sandy 01 Oct
    As a hourly employee for a company in Princeton NJ, is my employer required by law to have me track my hours? I understand that they can ask me to keep a time sheet, but my question is "are they required by law to have me track my time".
  26. 48 melyssa 16 Sep
    I am a salaried manager in oklahoma the job requirement states 50 hours a week. My job duties are to supervise do paperwork i do have some say who gets hired /fired but all must be approved by hr also put up stock intall batteries light bulbs and wiper blades. Am i considered exempt? Can i be required to work more than 5 days a week?
  27. 47 heather 07 Aug
    Ok I am a salary paid managèr.i get paid for 50 hours a week..but I have been working 70-80 hours a week for the last 5 months.and on my off days I am made to come in and work .is this legal?.there's gotta be a law on this .this can't be legal.
  28. 46 Mack 25 Jul
    I work as a salary manager for a corporation in Georgia. I am scheduled to work 60 hours per week and my salary is based off 40 hours per week. I also always work well over the 60 hours closer to 70 and sometimes 80 hours a week. With only 1 day off per week if that......is that legal
  29. 45 Mack 25 Jul
    I work as a salary manager for a corporation in Georgia. I am scheduled to work 60 hours per week and my salary is based off 40 hours per week. I also always work well over the 60 hours closer to 70 and sometimes 80 hours a week. With only 1 day off per week if that......is that legal
  30. 44 Auto parts 24 Jul
    Hello I had a question that I'm trying to get answered but I'm getting the runaround my store manager is salary he is scheduled on the schedule from 7 to 6 p.m. but he leaves around 4 430 everyday and on Fridays he leaves around 10 to 11 a.m. but still scheduled to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays he is scheduled to 6 p.m. but leaves around 2 230 they had to cut hours I know he salary but I don't think it's fair for i to do two jobs for the price of one and he gets paid for not even being there he even told me the more you work the less you make and the less you work the more you make I didn't understand until now
  31. 43 Amanda 20 Jul
    I was offered a management job exempt salery. They did restructuring and I have 140 open hours on the schedule. They are pushing me to take or leave the job. What I'm reading is that state law doesn't have anything regulating the max hours a staff that is exempt can be expected to work. With out a pay change. I will not work 90 hours plus a week for a 27k salery. Am I correct. There is nothing governing this law? How can a person be expected to work at least 40 and could be made to work 75-90 hours a week with no compisation over a certain amount of hours. Heck I'm going to stay hourly.
  32. 42 Linda 10 Jul
    My job was just outsourced. I have not had a day off in 2 years - worked 7 days a week, every weekend, every holiday and every vacation day. This is a Fortune 500 Company and I am shocked that they cannot place me somewhere until I can find another position in the company. I am salaried employee........let go after 12 years and worked almost to death for 2 years. Is this Legal?? Now I know why they would never get me any help.
  33. 41 cory 02 Jul
    I work as a salary manager for a multi million dollar corporation in Georgia. I am scheduled to work 60 hours per week and my salary is based off 40 hours per week. I also always work well over the 60 hours closer to 70 and sometimes 80 hours a week. With only 1 day off per week. Is this legal?
  34. 40 Shelby 26 Jun
    Can an employer use email as a time punch for a salary exempt employee? And if they are, if your scheduled to work 8 hours a day and have to take 3 hours off for a doctors appointment can they make you use vacation time when you are usually there well over 8 hours? Lastly, if normal business hours are defined as 8-4, if you're 5 mins late but are in the office before 8 can they write you up?
  35. 39 Jamie 26 Jun
    I was a salaried employee in NC. I decided to give my 2 wks notice & was told that was not sufficient. In my contract it states 2 wks. When my 2 wks was up I did leave. My last schedule I worked was only 3 days. When my last pay check was direct deposited it was less thanhalf of what I made. I was only required to work 5 days a wk. Upon contacting them to ask why I was not paid for the 3 days which should have been another $200 I was told that my salary was based on 365 days a year. Not weekly. Is this legal?
  36. 38 Bee 17 Jun
    My husband was hired as a salaried employee to work 40 hours a week give or take a few. He has been working from 7 in the morning until he gets at the hotel room sometimes at 930 at night. They raise hell if he takes lunch breaks telling him he's wasting their time and money and for the last 2 weeks they have made him work Saturday. I can't understand how this could be legal. He has talked about looking for another job but can't find time to do it because you have to be available for interviews. He works out of town traveling from one state to another and evidently they don't consider driving as working. He can't quit because wouldn't draw unemployment and need the income because we have children at home. There has to be an solution for the situation that we are in.
  37. 37 Mike 09 Jun
    Can my employer force me to take a week off without pay when I'm a salaried exempt employee? We were given the option of that or use vacation time if we have any.
  38. 36 Ron 07 Jun
    I have been working 6 days a week 11.5 hours per day for over a year, my employer just recently started having exempt employees start clocking in and out, is my employer required to give me additional pay fro all this extra time
  39. 35 Percy 25 May
    Can a retail company legally force an exempt employee to work 12 to 16 hours a day for up to 16 days in a row with no day off in between? This is happening and it is alarming!
  40. 34 Nick 15 May
    I need help. My job insist that a scary person is suppose to work 6 days a week with 12+ hours each day. Last week I worked 100+ hours and got paid for 40 hours. How is this fair? There has to be a law that covers this is someway. Please help !!
  41. 33 BB 06 May
    I live in PA. I am a salaried employer. I get paid for 40hr/wk and my pay sub reflects an hourly wage. Can they make me work over my 40 hour? I usually start at 7am and usually work until 5pm-6pm Mon - Fri. Sometimes longer. I do not clock in & out. One day I had a doctors appointment and left at 3:30 Pm. I started that day at 6:45 Am. I was told that I needed to fill out a slip for PTO time because I left early. I refused to do it because I had my 8 hrs in for the day. Plus our lunch time consists of us working while eating and we never take any breaks because our work load is so heavy.
  42. 32 BB 06 May
    I live in PA. I am a salaried employer. I get paid for 40hr/wk and my pay sub reflects an hourly wage. Can they make me work over my 40 hour? I usually start at 7am and usually work until 5pm-6pm Mon - Fri. Sometimes longer. I do not clock in & out. One day I had a doctors appointment and left at 3:30 Pm. I started that day at 6:45 Am. I was told that I needed to fill out a slip for PTO time because I left early. I refused to do it because I had my 8 hrs in for the day. Plus our lunch time consists of us working while eating and we never take any breaks because our work load is so heavy.
  43. 31 Leah 06 May
    I work for a bank in CT. The managers are salary and paid each week based on 40 hrs. The magnets however are required to be scheduled 42 hrs every week and now the bank wants to increase the weekly scheduled hours to 45 but still pay 40 hrs. When the managers work less then the scheduled hrs they are required to use PTO is this legal. I understand they can work over the 40 but can they require then to be scheduled overt 40 continuously and then require them to use PTO
  44. 30 Karen Mosher 02 May
    If I worked 40 hours total one week but went home early one day can they still take my PTO for leaving early? Now Im salery and clock in and out every day . I work about 46 plus hours per week and If I leave early they take my PTO anyway for not working 8 hours that day is this legal?
  45. 29 Jonathan 30 Apr
    I work as a Salary worker 9.5 hours a day, Monday through Thursday. We, at times have weekend events, where I work up to 15 hours a day Friday through Sunday. For those events, we are permitted to take off one day for compensation of our time during our regular work week. Does FLSA regulations comply with this practice or am I entitled all three of my days off for my time over the regular work week?
  46. 28 Diane 22 Apr
    My Question is I am an exempt employee, and I work 1 weekend a month which is 12 days in a row with no days off how is this legal. They do pay us for the saturday if we work a full 8 hours and then on sunday they only pay in 4 hour increments. The pay is less an hour than during the weak. The expectation from the employer is a full 8 hours each day. I await your responce . Thank you
  47. 27 HOWARD 15 Apr
    if a salaried employee is told that their shift is from 8:am until 5:00 pm. and all work must be completed within this time or they have to take it home to work on it. yet they have meetings to go to, employees that don't show up for work and daily interruptions so as not to be able to complete the ridiculous over loads plus having to complete no show employees work and fill in for open positions due to a lack of trained employees yet only paid for the salaried time. what if anything can they do. complaints are shrugged off by HR. injuries on the job are not handled. dangerous work hazards are not considered.
  48. 26 Sue 06 Apr
    I work in KY as a salaried employee, my supervisor is telling me that I sm responsible for my location 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Can I be held responsible for what goes on when I'm not there or on vacation?
  49. 25 Susan 26 Mar
    I am a salaried employee who's hours are being tracked, by my Manager's Manager. At no time have I or any other employee on our team been told that hours were being tracked. If I log off my computer early one day or work less than 40 hours in a week it is addressed by my Manager. Is this legal? I live in Illinois.
  50. 24 Chris 17 Mar
    I work for a company as an exempt salary employee. I am required to delete my hours worked past 50 hrs and I work on average of 90-100 hrs a week. What steps should I take? They require us to work off the clock after our 50 hrs but tell us we must clock in to keep track of our hours and then delete them afterwards? Help!
  51. 23 John 27 Feb
    I work for a company who recently went from contractor base to employee based. I was employed before the switch as a supervisors with a set salary with a schedule to abide by. After the change I was listed as a exempt employee and schedule changed from mandatory 6 days at 11 hrs a day, to 5 11hr days with a sixth day of 3 hrs. Now we are under a restructure and was told they are emplementing a 10% decrease and required to work 6 11hr days again, and I will be re titled. Before I was listed as a exempt employee I worked as a employed supervisor with a set salary and set 6 day 11hr a day schedule, but some weeks I worked more then that in hours but received the same salary. Is any of this by the book. Frustrated.
  52. 22 Bill 21 Feb
    I am a salary employee on a DOD contract. Our hourly employees usually work 40 hours and when they vant to take leave, they can use a combination of sick or vacation hours to equal the 40 hours. As a salary worker, we normally work 45 - 50 hours a week and when we want to take a day of leave we must use a full 8 hour incriment of vacation time only. This forces us to use 8 hours of vacation time even if we have already worked 50 hours. This seems like it would be an unfare violation of labor law. We earn vacation time in incriments of 2.3 hours per week but are forced to use 8 full hours anytime we use leave. If you could provide any comments or references on this, it would be greatly appreciated.
  53. 21 steve 12 Feb
    Our salary employees are paid a agreed amount each week. our payroll processor is telling us that we are required to submit hours for our salary personnel as we do for our hourly/non-exempt employees. We don't require salary/exempt employees to clock in so they could work more or less than 40 hours per week. We have a manager stating we violate the law by telling the payroll processor to use 40 hours for all exempt employees so they rate and pay amount is consistent every week. Should we insist they remove the 40 hour designation for all salary people?
  54. 20 Barb 30 Jan
    My employment status is full time exempt temporary for a consulting firm (I pay for health insurance thru the company and receive 6 paid holidays) My work assignment was to review/audit files pertaining to federal grants. When I reported findings the client didn't like, my employer asked that i take 7 unpaid, work days off before they could reassign me new work. Is this legal?
  55. 19 crystal 19 Jan
    Can an employer make a salaried manager come in on their day off to work and force them to work open to close shifts?
  56. 18 John 11 Jan
    I am an exempt employee that runs 2 clinics and works well over the 40 hours a week, As a matter of fact I do not recall the last time I had a day off. If a person calls in sick I am required to cover their shift, do not get compensated or paid at all. Do I have a case ?
  57. 17 troy 16 Dec
    I work for a florida based co and im required to work 60 hrs weekly with no overtime for salary pay but im docked if fewer than 60 what can i do
  58. 16 Mel 07 Dec
    I am a salary employee in CA and i work about 144 hours in a pay period (biweekly) sometimes i do not get a day off and i was told i could be demoted if i do not willingly work all week 7 days straight and 12-14 hrs a day. Is this legal?
  59. 15 Carol 14 Nov
    I am salary but required by owner to clock in and out. Is there a law that says an employer must make his salaried employees clock in and out?
  60. 14 Jennifer 31 Oct
    We have an exempt employee that works over 50 hours a week. He needed to take 4 hours off one day to take care of personal business. Our HR people are telling him he must use vacation for the 4 hours. Can a company force an employee to use vacation time for taking several hours off?
  61. 13 mw 05 Oct
    As a salaried employee in NJ, my manager has told me that I have to work an additional one and a half hours a day till the company is out of it's busy time. Can I refuse to do this? Also on my pay stub it shows an hourly wage not salary.
  62. 12 Jaunerose 01 Oct
    I have a friend that is working as a salaried employee for a trucking company in TN as a dispatcher...they do not get breaks or lunch. They eat at their desk. They work 4 days at 12 hours with 3 days off. they are being told that if someone goes on vacation the company could require them to come in and work 1 or more of their days off as they are salaried. Is this legal and if no ones knows who should they contact? I'm just trying to help find an answer...thanks!
  63. 11 Screwed 24 Sep
    Unfortunately being exempt the employer can make you work around the clock if they want to. Good employers wont do this. You could contact you state labor board and ask if you should be reclassified as hourly but you might not last too long if you take action against your employer. Best bet is to talk to your boss about the long hours but keep your personal feeling & thoughts out of it. If it doesn't change just find another job and leave.
  64. 10 bridget 16 Sep
    Can an employer force salried employees to take unpaid time off because they are taking a vacation and the salired employees job is esential to keep cash flow for the business
  65. 9 Chris 04 Sep
    I work in Pennsylvania and am a salaried employee. Today I will be working my 17th straight day withno day off in site. I average 75 to 90 hours a week. Is this legal? No one is willing to help me and I ccan't physically do this anymore.I am afraid to speak up, and cause trouble. I just want a day off or compensated for giving up my life to my company. Please help me.
  66. 8 Gina 13 Jul
    I'm classified as an exempt employee i worked less than 80 hours in two weeks and my pay was reduced. Is this legal? Also, I'm hourly not salary any help would be appreciateD! I contacted HR and was told my pay would remain the same. The following week i recieve new papers to sign stating i'm an exempt employee pay band.
  67. 7 Velvet 01 Jul

    As a salaried employee of Michigan, what is the typical amount of hours that an employer can legally require you to work each week?

  68. 6 Pia 25 Sep

    Can a California employer change an exempt employee's schedule from five 8 hour shift to four 12 hour shifts? Is it legal to change their hours from day to swing shifts without additional compensation?

  69. 5 Mario 28 Jun
    i have a question, as a salaried employee in Florida.  if i take an extended lunch do i have to make up that time?  can someone please point me in the right direction as to where i can find those answers?
  70. 4 Tom 19 Jun
    As a salaried employee for a private company in Minnesota, is my employer required by law to have me track my hours?   I understand that they can ask me to keep a time sheet, but my question is "are they required by law to have me track my time".  
  71. 3 John 17 Jun
    Everything I've read suggests her job is mis-classified.  She is probably hourly.  A call to her state Department of Labor should help her clear that up.
  72. 2 Adam 14 Jun
    Can someone please respond to Katies question, because from what I'm reading then if she worked over 40 hrs in a week then she is required over-time. Correct?
  73. 1 Katie 04 May
    I am an exempt employee who was told I am paid salary. I have to clock in and out every day, but i don't get paid overtime. I wasn't at work for exactly 40 hours one week and they docked pay from my check! how is that legal?!

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