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Florida Exempt Employee Comp Time

Posted by Tamara

Florida’s exempt salaried employees are not legally entitled to comp time.  That is the “bottom line” regarding compensatory time off.

An employer may choose to grant comp time to an exempt employee, but there is absolutely no obligation to do so, under either federal or state law.

A few definitions may be helpful to clarify the issue of comp time for exempt employees.

First, there is a federal definition of an “exempt employee,” and a Florida employee may be “exempt” or “non-exempt,” depending on where they fit into the definition.

The Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, has developed five categories or classes of exempt salaried employees. They are Computer Pros, Administrators, Executives, Professionals, and Outside Salespeople.

Exempt employees, furthermore, are only those who fall into one of those categories and also receive more than $455 a week, according to the FLSA. Any employee, regardless of her or his position, who earns less than that, is automatically non-exempt.

To be “exempt” means, then, to be exempt from the federal and Florida labor regulations that govern compensatory time off and overtime pay.

In theory, a Florida employer may actually require an exempt salaried employee to work 60, 80, or 120 hours a week without comp time or overtime. That employer would be fully within his or her legal rights to do so, even if it might not be “best practice” in terms of management style.

The exempt employee has some protections, however. He or she is entitled to the same pay even in those weeks when working, say, 35, 30, or even 20 hours, as long as that employee is “ready and willing” to work a 40-hour week. There are times when employers simply do not have enough work to generate a 40-hour week, and must still pay the exempt employee the full salary. If an employer decides to reduce an exempt employee’s salary on one of those weeks, then that employee automatically becomes “non-exempt.” From that point forward, the employee is entitled to overtime pay.

Management is not legally allowed to give a “non-exempt” employee comp time instead of paying for overtime.




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