Paying Non-Exempt for time not worked

I support a small business (including the owner, a total of 3 employees).  Most Fridays if there is not enough work to do, the owner lets his employees leave early (around 3:00).  He would like to go ahead and pay his non-exempt employees for the time they are not at work so that they are still getting paid for the full 40 hours.  Are they any legal issues with doing this?




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  • He is basically granting them paid time off.  I don't see a problem with it, however, he should state that it is at the owner's discretion to pay employees if he makes the decision to allow them to leave early. That way he isn't tied into having to pay them every time it's slow.  The legal issue is if they work more than 40 hours, you must pay them overtime. You cannot give them comp time for the extra hours they worked.
  • I agree ith everything allenda said.  Additionally, if someone leaves 2 hours early on Friday but then comes in on Saturday, you do not have to count those 2 hours paid (but not worked) from Friday as "worked time" for overtime consideration.


    That is, the person works 38 hours and is paid for 40 hours of straight time, M-F.  Then, for whatever reason, the person has to come in and work 4 hours on Saturday.  That person is entitled to 42 hours of straight time and 2 hours of OT, assuming you don't want to reneg on the extra 2 hours from Friday.  If you did structure the policy so that the person had to work those hours before getting additional pay, they'd still be entitled to 38 hours straight time M-F, plus 2 more hours of straight time on Saturday (total 40) plus 2 hours OT.


    Make sense?


    In general, it's never wrong to pay extra to hourly employees for any reason or no reason.  Most of the risks associated with bonusing exempt people for working long hours are also gone, but it's generally a good idea not to make straight pay for time incentives of any kind to exempt employees because that can come back to bite you later if the salary method or exempt status are challenged.  Most (some would say all) of the risks associated with paying extra or counting time for salaried employees were removed in the last modifications to the FLSA regs.

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