Salaried Employees Work Hours: Laws from FLSA

Check out these FLSA posts from 2016:

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.

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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.


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

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18 Comments on "Salaried Employees Work Hours: Laws from FLSA"

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Bernice McLean

I was hired as a title 1 teacher by the school district. My assignment was at a private Christian school. I was contracted to work 25 hours per week, and was only paid for 25. However, for two years I worked 30 to 40 hours hours per week without compensation from the private school. Is the private school liable in the Fair Labor Act?


If you are a salaried employee the school is not liable. I don’t like that they aren’t liable; but unfortunately you are mostly at fault for allowing them to let you work that much. Draw a line in the sand and say no to things.


The company I work for bought my old company out several years ago. In the contract, my old boss and new bosses signed, I was to remain a salaried employee. Now with the changes in wages, I have been told I have to start clocking in and out and will be considered hourly. Do I have any recourse with the fact the contract they negotiated said I was to remain a salaried employee. my new boss says he cannot give me a big enough salary increase to meet the salaried status.


You are salaried under the 47500 benchmark? They need you to punch in so they can track your hours to pay overtime under the new laws. You should be getting your salary pay as normal but with overtime if you work it. Your new boss may think your overtime pay won’t be as much as giving you a raise to 47500. Technically its considered hourly now, but it shouldn’t change anything on your end.


I am a salaried employee. When I am in town I must work 8a to 5p but when I travel I work 60 plus hours a week without any comp time. Is that proper?


Tim I can relate to you … I have been working 11 to 13 hours daily for the past 2 weeks. when i took 2 days off they were discounted from my pay. is this legal considering that I am exempt doesn’t the time compensates ?

Stacey Rodgers

Question so if im a exempt employee that has a set schedule to work as for as days and times. I dont manage people and will always work a full schedule how is that legal to require me to work overtime and not get paid for it? I could see if my schedule was flexible and some time i didnt have a full schedule, but if i always work 40 hours and you still require more just because im salaried thats not fair.

T Mitchell

I am in the same boat and I would really like to know the answer to this. I was recently told by my employer that I am to be available “whenever” they need me because I am an excempt employee. Thats not right

Andre Tate
I am a Emt supervisor only making 40k a yr and my boss requires that i work 75hrs a week with one day off included in that(wouldve been 90hrs!). Now if i take off for an additional day or two but dont cross that 40hrs or less threshold arent i still entitled to the same pay? My primary duties is to work on the road assisting patients lifting people while dispatching giving orders etc. Tecnically im getting paid less than i would make if i were one of my employees working the same number of hours. What should i do… Read more »
Jasper Whiteside

I was looking at the benefits of being what you refer to as an exempt employee instead of an hourly employee. It seems to me that there is some added job security if you are an exempt employee. Or, I guess there’s a greater perceived security there. I suppose there is a greater accountability having to use a time clock to keep track of the work you’ve done.


what happens or what is the law about a salaried manager working 60 to 80 hours a week and only gets paid for 40


I am an exempt employee but my manager is asking me to sign off on 40 hours per week when in fact I actually work more than 40 hours sometimes on my day off. I am not comfortable signing off on forty hours when it is actually more. We use ADP and it does not allow me to enter my actual hours. Please advise. Thank you.

Kei. Bill
I am a early head start teacher who is salaried employed in the state of Georgia. If i only work 4 hours in one work day will i get paid for a full 8 hour work day? My company center management told me the policy has changed. There is nothing in the policy and procedure hand book about only working 4 hours a particular day and getting paid for a full 8 hour work day. I was told by management that they take out 4 hours from my vacation time to make up the balance for a full 8 hour… Read more »

As a salary employee if my work schedules me to work 84 hours per week but two weeks straight before getting my two days off and without any comp time. Can my employer do this in the state of California?

Donna Hamilton

What can I do legally if my employer refuses to give me a written schedule?

Mykkah Herner

Hi Donna – a great first step is checking out the DOL “your questions” site: If you don’t see your answer there you can check with an employement lawyer. At first glance, I don’t see anything about a written schedule, but don’t quote me on that.

Donna Hamilton

I’m waiting to find out what my rights as an employee are if my employer refuses to give me a written work schedule?

Donna Hamilton

Does anyone have any answers for me?