Comp Time for Exempt Employees

We invited our sales representatives to attend an large, upcoming tradeshow.  Our small, limited-budget company is paying all travel, accommodation, and meal expenses for the trip in addition to their regular salary.  The tradeshow begins on a Tuesday and runs through Saturday.  The employees are now asking us to give them comp time since they have to work on Saturday.  Since they are exempt, salaried employees, should we give them comp time in addition to what we are already paying?  Please advise.  Thanks in advance.


  • 4 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • As far as I know, there is no federal or state law that would require you to give exempt employees comp time or any extra pay because they worked Saturday. Exempt employees are paid a fixed salary regardless of the number of hours they work--more or less than is scheduled. Unless the company has some type of policy or established practice that could be construed as a promise of compensatory time, the company doesn't have to do anything above the salary. In fact, by going to the trade show and working the crowd (on the company dime) they might get leads that will result in sales and bigger commissions.

    One issue is how to communicate this to the sales reps--you don't want to create an adversarial situation and have the whole thing blow up. This could be tough.

  • Any recommendations on how you would break the news?
  • Perhaps you can stress that the conference is not mandatory but is being offered as a benefit to them to help advance their careers?
  • I agree that, outside of a contract, policy, or established practice, you have no obligation to give additional compensation of any kind to properly categorized exempt employees under FLSA for working an additional day.

    If you aren't careful about what you do in this situation, you may end up fostering an expectation salaried employees are entitled to extra compensation for working on Saturday (or more than 40 hours in a week or more than 8 hours in a day or wherever else the line gets pushed over time).  To be honest, this is the first time I've ever heard of employees asking for additional compensation for attending a trade show with travel, accomodations, and meals picked up by the company.  Even if by "attend" you mean "work" a trade show, they're salaried employees who are employed to sell and if the selling opportunities are on Saturday, that's when they need to go to work.  Unless their total compensation is relatively low so it makes sense to do things like this occasionally as a retention tool, I wouldn't go there.  If you do want to extend this kind of bonus, I would make it clear that it's at the Company's discretion so you can feel free to say no the next time it comes up so that you have some control over the building of expectations.

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