Q: Can we require exempt employees to clock in and out?
A: While it doesn’t violate the FLSA to have an exempt employee clock in and out, we recommend only tracking exempt hours if there is a business reason to do so. There are some valid reasons for tracking exempt employee hours. For example, an employer may opt to track an exempt employee’s hours for purposes of client billing, grant tracking, Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 401(k), or hours-based benefits calculations such as vacation accrual. That said, exempt employees are paid to do a job, not necessarily to work a required number of hours. As a general rule, we recommend focusing on whether the job is getting done instead of attempting to track amount of time spent in the office.
While you may choose to track the hours of exempt employees, please ensure the information is not used to take deductions from an employee’s regular salary, unless such deductions are allowable under both state and federal law. An exempt employee’s salary should not fluctuate based on the number of hours worked within the workweek. Prorating an exempt employee’s salary based on hours worked may result in the loss of the exemption.
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