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Understanding Pay for Salaried Exempt Employees During Office Furloughs

As businesses navigate the ever-changing landscape of economic challenges, cost-saving measures like office furloughs have become increasingly common. But when it comes to compensating salaried exempt employees during these furloughs, confusion often arises. Are they entitled to their full pay even if the office is closed for a few days a week? Let’s delve into this important question.

Understanding Exempt vs. Nonexempt Employees:

Before we address the issue of pay during furloughs, it's crucial to distinguish between exempt and nonexempt employees:

  • Exempt Employees: These employees are exempt from overtime pay regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). They typically receive a fixed salary regardless of the number of hours worked and are not eligible for overtime pay.
  • Nonexempt Employees: Nonexempt employees are entitled to overtime pay for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. They are paid hourly and must be compensated for all hours worked, including overtime.

Pay for Salaried Exempt Employees During Furloughs:

The rules governing pay for salaried exempt employees during furloughs are clear:

  • Full Weekly Salary Requirement: According to the FLSA, salaried exempt employees must receive their full weekly salary if they perform any work during the designated workweek. This includes tasks as simple as checking work emails or voicemail. Even if the office is closed for a few days, exempt employees must still receive their full salary if they engage in any work-related activities.
  • Duration of Furlough: To ensure compliance and fairness, it's essential that the furlough period covers the full workweek. If the office is closed for only a single day or part of a week, exempt employees are still entitled to their full salary for that week.

Key Considerations for Employers:

As you plan office furloughs to save costs, keep these important considerations in mind:

  1. Communication: Clearly communicate the details of the furlough to affected employees, including the duration and expectations regarding work during the furlough period.
  2. Legal Compliance: Ensure that your furlough policies comply with federal and state labor laws, particularly regarding exempt employee pay requirements.
  3. Fair Treatment: Treat all employees—exempt and nonexempt—fairly and consistently when implementing furloughs to maintain morale and compliance.


While furloughs can be an effective cost-saving measure for businesses, it's essential to understand the implications for different employee classifications. Salaried exempt employees must receive their full weekly salary if they perform any work during the designated workweek, even during furloughs. By adhering to legal requirements and communicating clearly with employees, businesses can navigate furloughs effectively while maintaining compliance and fairness.

If you have further questions or need guidance on implementing furloughs in your organization, don't hesitate to reach out to A&A Employer Services. Our experts are here to provide personalized support tailored to your business needs.

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