According to new guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), salaried executive, administrative, and professional employees who are exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) may be classified as such even if they perform nonexempt duties during the pandemic. According to DOL:
- COVID-19 is an event that employers couldn’t have reasonably anticipated, thus it is consistent with FLSA’s criteria for emergencies.
- Employers must pay workers for all hours of telework, including any overtime compensation due to hours worked beyond 40 in a designated work week.
- Employers don’t need to compensate employees for unworked hours that interrupt their workday.
- Employers may want to establish a policy that establishes workers will be paid for any unauthorized work they complete.
- Employers should examine wage and duties when classifying employees as exempt or nonexempt. However, they should temporarily maintain exempt classifications gradeless of the individual’s pandemic duties, as long as their pay is within the exemption threshold.