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Must we give extra pay for extra duties?

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Q. We are short-staffed and some of our employees have been assigned tasks beyond what they were hired to do. Some have said they want more money because of this. Do we have to increase their pay? — J.V., Indiana

A. Not necessarily. It depends on whether your employees are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (not eligible for overtime) or nonexempt (eligible for overtime).

Exempt employees. You do not have to pay more to exempt employees who already receive a fixed amount of compensation each pay period, even though they perform extra tasks.

But take note: Is the majority of the new work performed by exempt employees the same type of work generally performed by nonexempt employees? If so, the exempt employees may need to be reclassified as nonexempt for all the work that is done. In other words, the tasks you’re adding may change the nature of the job so it no longer qualifies for one of the FLSA overtime exemptions.

Nonexempt employees. Assigning nonexempt workers additional duties doesn’t automatically qualify them for higher pay. But be aware that if the extra work pushes nonexempt staff beyond 40 hours in a workweek, you must pay overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek.

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