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Reduced hours for exempt employees: Should they continue to fill out time sheets?

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Q. As a cost-saving measure, our company reduced the salaries of exempt employees by 10%. Employees get their salaries regardless of the number of hours they work. We have always asked our employees, though, to fill out a time sheet on which they write down 40 hours every week. Now we will ask them to record just 36 hours on this time sheet. Any problems with this?

A.
Requiring employees to document information that everyone knows is inaccurate is never a good idea. This could be used in litigation to discredit the company and attack the accuracy of any document the company seeks to introduce as evidence.

It is a particularly bad idea in this case, since you can accomplish the cost-saving goals the company is seeking without requiring any documentation of hours worked (much less false records of work schedules). If the employees are truly exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and get their salaries regardless of how many hours they work, it’s not necessary to record their hours.

And, it’s OK to establish a generally expected workweek with a commensurate salary as long as you make it clear to exempt employees that they’re being compensated for the work they perform, regardless of the number of hours they work.

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