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Is it OK to pay an exempt employee an hourly wage for taking on nonexempt work?

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in Management Training

Q. We recently advertised internally for a current employee to do six to eight hours per week of office cleaning for an hourly wage. An exempt employee responded indicating that he would like the extra pay. Is it OK to pay him the hourly rate for his share of the cleaning work in addition to his salary?

A. Yes, this arrangement should be fine without jeopardizing the employee’s exempt status. This is akin to paying an exempt employee his salary plus a bonus for work over and above his normal duties. Such bonuses are permissible under wage-and-hour laws, which permit exempt employees to be paid bonuses on any basis, including on an hourly basis. 

If an employee works so many hours performing nonexempt duties that the “primary duty” of his job becomes nonexempt, then you would be required to track his hours worked and pay him overtime after 40 hours of work. That’s clearly not an issue here.

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