Posted by Tamara
The issue of so-called “comp time” raises many questions with Montana employers.
One of the most frequent questions is whether or not “exempt” employees are entitled to comp time, known more formally as compensatory time off.
The short answer is a definite “no.” Montana exempt employees are not entitled to comp time if they work more than 40 hours in any given payroll week.
There are some clear criteria, laid down by federal law, for what constitutes an exempt employee. Exempt employees are usually salaried, but a salaried employee in Montana is not always exempt. It depends on the employee’s duties.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) names five types of exempt employees. They are Administrators, Professionals, Computer Pros, Outside Salespeople, and Executives.
Exempt employees, furthermore, must be receiving a salary of at least $455 weekly. The worker must receive that same salary even if he or she works fewer than 40 hours in some weeks. If the worker’s salary were actually reduced during those under-40-hour weeks, he or she would automatically become non-exempt. At that point, the worker would be entitled to overtime if she or he worked more than 40 hours in a week. It would be illegal for an employer to withhold overtime pay from a non-exempt employee who works in excess of 40 hours in a given week.
On the other hand, an exempt employee who is considered “ready and willing” to work a full week must be paid a full week’s salary, even if there are not enough work-hours available.
Salaried exempt employees can be made to work more than 40 hours a week without any additional compensation, on the other hand. The bottom line is that, whether an exempt employee works 30 hours a week, or 40, 80, 90 or 120 hours a week, he or she will get only the usual salary rate.
All of these stipulations apply to both federal and Montana law, but they regulate only the salaries of employees in private business. Some state and local governments are permitted to grant compensatory time off instead of paying their employees overtime.
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