Posted by Tamara
Connecticut’s salaried exempt employees often believe that the 40 hour week is a “standard” that applies to them as well as hourly wage-earners. As a result, they assume that when they work more than 40 hours in a week they can put the extra hours in their “time bank,” to be “withdrawn” in a later week when they work fewer hours.
This is a myth. While salaried exempt employees are entitled to their full weekly salary even if they work a shorter week, this does not mean they can naturally choose to work a shorter week, or come and go as they please as long as the work gets done.
According to the Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA, an exempt salaried employee is not legally entitled to overtime pay, no matter how many hours he or she may work in a week. If there is a week in which management approves fewer hours, the employee must still be paid the full amount.
There is no standard workweek for the salaried exempt worker in either federal or Connecticut law. The word “exempt” means the employee is not covered by, or is “exempt” from, overtime laws.
Management may set the workweek for salaried exempt employees at any level they see fit, whether that workweek is 50, 60, or even 70 or 80 hours long. It depends on company policy.
Exempt employees should not assume they can “bank” time over 40 hours or to come and go as they please, even if they complete their week’s assignments in 30 hours. If company policy set 80 hours a week as the standard, and an exempt employee has been working 80 hours a week for 10 years, the employer could legally fire that employee for working 79 hours in a week.
Company policy sometimes allows its exempt employees to set their own hours as long as their assignments are completed. This is not a legal requirement, however, but the employer’s choice.
An exempt employee would be entitled to a full week’s pay for a 25-hour week, but may not be able to work only 25 hours.
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