Posted by Tamara
South Carolina’s exempt salaried employees have few legal protections when it comes to the number of hours per week they must work.
The “exempt salaried employee” is one who receives a flat weekly (or bi-weekly) paycheck and is not protected by the federal overtime laws.
There is no such thing as a “standard” workweek for exempt employees under either federal or South Carolina law. That means an employer is legally entitled to set the exempt employee’s week at 40, 50, 60 or even 80 hours per week every week. The employer may choose to terminate the worker who does not put in that much time. The employer may, however, allow the employee to set her or his own schedule.
The 40 hour workweek, in short, is not the norm for South Carolina exempt employees. Many assume that by working more than 40 hours in one week, they are “banking” the extra hours and can take them off in another week. Legally, however, that is not the case. If employees were required to work 80 hours a week for 10 years, and that is what management required them to do, they could in theory be fired for working 70 hours in one week because they did not meet the employer’s minimum 80 hour workweek.
Every employer is entitled to set the length of the workweek for exempt employees, however long that may be.
If an exempt employee is allowed to work only a portion of one week, however, he or she is still entitled to a full week of salary.
As a hypothetical example, “Todd” normally works 40 hours in a week. In one of his weeks he puts in 25 hours during his five days of work. He is entitled to his full salary for the week.
Exempt employees need to realized, however, that this does not mean they can come and go at their pleasure, working as few or as many hours as it takes to get a project done. Todd, for example, could be fired for not meeting his employer’s minimum required hours per week, even if he finished all of his week’s projects.
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