Coronavirus FAQS For Employers: Wage and Hour Issues

Must we keep paying our employees if they are not working?

Under the federal and state wage and hour laws, minimum wage and overtime requirements attach to hours worked in a workweek. Employees classified as non-exempt who are not working are typically not entitled to their wages.

One possible difference relates to employees classified as exempt under the FLSA’s so-called “white collar” exemptions. These employees perform certain exempt job duties and are paid on a salary basis. Generally, if an exempt employee performs any work in the employee’s designated workweek, they must be paid their entire salary for that particular workweek.

In addition to their legal obligations under the FLSA, employers may have a legal obligation to keep paying employees pursuant to an employment contract, a collective bargaining agreement, or some other policy or practice that is enforceable as a contract under state wage and hour laws.

Our non-exempt employees are now working remotely. What are some best practices for complying with federal and state wage and hour laws?

Generally, federal and state wage and hour laws require employers to pay employees classified as non-exempt for all work performed remotely, even if the employee did not have the employer’s express permission to work from home. Implementing, communicating, and strictly enforcing a remote work policy that clearly explains what constitutes compensable time is critical.

A remote work policy for non-exempt employees also should make clear that employees are required to accurately record all time worked and track and record required meal and rest periods. Finally, employers should require that non-exempt employees certify the accuracy of their recorded work time each workweek and further certify that they did not perform any “off the clock” work during the applicable timekeeping or pay period.

To learn more, contact Jean Harrington.

Or visit Duffy & Sweeney’s COVID-19 Resource Center here.


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