Posted by Tamara
Many employers in Louisiana want to know what their legal obligations are when an exempt employee works more than 40 hours in a week.
Many want to know if they must give the employee compensatory time off. For example, they ask, “If one of my exempt employees works 50 hours this week, must I let him or her work 30 hours the following week?”
The answer is that employers in Louisiana and elsewhere may do so if they wish, but they are not legally required to do so. Exempt employees are not legally or automatically entitled to comp time. They are not legally entitled to overtime pay either. In short, an employer may require an exempt salaried employee to work 60, 80, or even 120 hours a week with no increase in pay and no comp time.
There is another side to the salaries of exempt employees, however. There are times when an exempt employee will work fewer than 40 hours. If that employee is ready and willing to work 40 hours, but the employer cannot provide 40 hours worth of work in a given week, then that employee is still entitled to his or her regular salary.
Certain regulations define what constitutes an “exempt” employee. There are five classes of exempt employees, according to the FLSA, otherwise known as the Fair Labor Standards Act. Those are Executives, Administrators, Professionals, Computer Pros and Outside Sales People. In addition, someone must receive a salary of at least $455 weekly to be exempt.
As can be seen, a salaried employee may be either exempt or non-exempt, and the status can change. Exempt employees must receive their usual salaries even if they work fewer than 40 hours a week. If an employer were to reduce a worker’s salary for those weeks when someone who is exempt works fewer than 40 hours, then that employee becomes automatically non-exempt. He or she is then entitled to overtime pay when working more than 40 hours a week.
Furthermore, in Louisiana it is illegal for a business to give non-exempt employees comp time in lieu of overtime.
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