Guest Column | September 12, 2012

Legally Speaking: Paying Employees Correctly

Bob Goldberg RSPA

By Bob Goldberg, RSPA General Counsel

The issue of overtime pay continues to haunt resellers as difficult economic times cause employees to look closely at their employment compensation. The rule for outside salespeople is easy they are exempt employees that are not entitled to overtime compensation. It is the remainder of your work force that causes problems. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) distinguishes between exempt and nonexempt employees, as well as employer obligations to properly compensate such employees for hours worked. Under the FLSA, nonexempt employees must be paid for all hours worked in a week and must receive overtime pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a one-week period and in California, an eight hour day. Resellers have grappled with meeting these requirements and otherwise complying with the various wage payment laws. To avoid landing in hot water, employers should tread carefully when determining payment for nonexempt employees.

If a technician is waiting for his or her next call and has nothing to do in the meantime, do you pay him? “Waiting time,” during which the employee is not productive due to lack of work or assignments, but is still required to remain in the workplace while waiting for work or assignments, is considered compensable time. Of course, an employee that is given the option to go home and return after a certain number of hours, but chooses to wait at the workplace instead, is not entitled to compensation for such waiting time.

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