Important Notice:
This site has moved to, please update your bookmarks. If you were looking for a specific post, you can use the site search option or archives at the new domain to find it. Thank you!

Monday, August 29, 2011

You Can't Make Someone Salaried to Avoid Overtime Payments

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I am wondering if you can help me with a question. I am an office manager and am considering moving several hourly employees to salary, me included. We are a small law firm and are trying to avoid the cycle of having to send people home early on Friday to avoid overtime and yet having work that still needs to be done.

My concern is that hourly employees accrue PTO and get Holiday pay. Is there a way you can be a salaried employee and still receive those benefits? If so, how do you figure out how to apply them etc?

To read the answer the question that should have been asked, but wasn't, click here: You Can't Make Someone Salaried to Avoid Overtime Payments


Josh S said...

What about the following situation for a (non-exempt) Executive Admin Asst:
-Manager assigns 50 hours of work/week.
-Manager forbids employee from working >40 hours/week, since he does not want to pay overtime
-Employee is faced with choice of
A) Not completing assigned work.
B) Disobeying instruction and working >40 hours/week and asking for OT
C) Working >40 hours/week and not getting paid for it.

What should the Employee do?

Suzanne Lucas said...

As an FYI, option C is illegal.

Option D is to ask the manager which one he prefers.

Anonymous said...

I have an employee who is salaried and only comes in 3 days a week. At the moment I don't have someone to fill those shoes or we would have let the employee go. we are going to demote to hourly, but my question is this...IF you have a salaried employee who uses all their sick time can you require that any future "sick" days would come from that employees vacation time?

Anonymous said...

I had a problem like Josh S. Where I work, we are forbidden to work more than our allotted 40 hours to avoid paying overtime. I have been trying to tell my coworkers that option C is illegal (they often taken work home after hours and continue their work there), but I can't get them to stop doing it. It creates a hardship for all of us in that we are expected to do more work in the allotted time as Employee A who is taking work home and/or staying late without putting it on her timesheet. When it is brought up with our boss, it's simply, "She can do what she wants," which isn't really the case, legally anyway.

I also worked at a church once, which was a complete disaster for a variety of reasons. The senior pastor had a habit of giving me the weekly programs to run fifteen minutes before I was to leave on Friday. I was only allowed to work x-number of hours (overage wouldn't have caused overtime, but they were control freaks) and could not get programs printed off the printer (in color, so the printer was uber-slow and was one of those wax-ink-type printers) AND folded AND organized for the Saturday vs. Sunday services. The pastor kept telling me that the previous worker would just stay late or come in on Saturday morning and "volunteer" as a member of the church to do her own job to complete it due to his lack of time management. I calmly informed him that it is illegal to "volunteer" to do your own job and you are supposed to be paid for time worked. He didn't like that too much. (There were other issues there, but I've already written too much. Suffice it to say that I didn't stay there as a member OR worker very long.) In fact, he didn't like it so much that he told me that I needed to pray about my work commitments in order to have more time to get them done on time (basically to pray to God to give me super-sonic speed or something, I guess) when I went to him to let him know that it was overwhelming to have a HUGE workload dumped on you at the last minute with the expectation that it would be done perfectly (absolutely no errors or the entire thing would have to be redone, even though he was the one who created the object) and apparently immediately.

Okay, I'm going to quit talking about that job. I'm getting my dander up again, and I haven't been there for five years. That was probably the most inept and demoralizing position I've ever had, unfortunately and sadly.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who finds it sad and ironic that this question comes from a law firm??!!

Anonymous said...

If they are a law firm, why don't they do what every other professional services firm does, i.e.
1. do the work
2. pay the overtime
3. charge the client

If it's not client work, then either pay the overtime or hire another person (temp or perm) to do the work. Or accept that some work is not important and doesn't need to be done.

EHRL repeatedly says that she is not a lawyer, so get one of your lawyers to look up local HR law to answer the technical questions.

Anonymous said...

I'm exempt but if I leave for an hour for a doctor's appointment, I have to take an hour of vacation. Of course, it doesn't work the other way around. But nobody wants to stand up to the boss because 1) he's a lawyer, 2) we're afraid that he'll change the rules and not let anyone leave during the day at all. In this horrible job climate, everyone here is paralyzed with fear.