Any federal labor laws regarding salary employees come from the US Department of Labor (DOL). The purpose is to regulate treatment, payment and safety of employees. State departments of labor also share the same interests, and several regulations specifically address salary employees.
A worker who earns wages per hour is entitled to overtime pay for any amount worked that exceeds 40 hours per week. Overtime pay is time and a half for wage employees, and that's generally easy to figure out. However, with salary employees, overtime is more difficult to determine. The DOL has specified that some salary employees are exempt from overtime, while others are entitled to overtime pay. The DOL specifies that exempt salary employees must meet criteria of an executive employee (manager or department head), and administrative employee (influence in matters of significance) and learned professionals (specialized knowledge). Other exempt salary employees are outside sales employees and computer professionals.
According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an employer must pay an exempt employee the full daily salary for any amount of work that the employee performs for that day. This applies even if the employee performs only a few minutes of work that day. However, the employee is open to discipline per the company policy for simply deciding to take a day off without prior arrangements.
The FLSA labor laws allow an employer to dock a salaried employee's pay under certain conditions. These include whether the employee is under a disciplinary suspension, utilizing the Family and Medical Leave Act that allows time off without pay and when the employee needs to handle personal affairs and has no vacation time or sick leave to use. Other situations where it is permissible to dock a salaried employee's pay is if she is serving on a jury, however, the employer can only dock the monetary compensation the employee received while on the jury. The same is true for temporary military leave-the employer can only dock the amount of compensation received.
Labor laws regarding lunch breaks vary from state to state and employer to employer. Employers must make their policies as clear as possible to avoid confusion over break time and payment during that time.
What is casual employment? Casual employees usually work fewer than 1,000 hours a year, and they can help businesses meet a sudden rise in demand.