Pay for Exempts during Company shutdown-MN

We are planning a 3 week Company shutdown and having the discussion of whether exempts need to be paid during that time. I'm looking for the specific statute that will clearly define the FLSA guidelines. Our shop employees will be off for 3 weeks without pay and I know we'll hear some of ..."it's not fair" if exempts are "allowed" to work and get paid during the shutdown. Currently our shop employees are working reduced hours and on the Shared Work program, exempts are working 5 days a week with a 10% pay cut to try and be consistent across the board.

Can anyone help me with some guidelines? Thank you!


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  • I don't have any experience with the law in Minnesota but the specific statute under federal law is (emphasis added by me) ...

     29CFR541.602 - Salary basis.

    exempt employee must receive the full salary for any week in which the
    employee performs any work without regard to the number of days or
    hours worked. Exempt employees need not be paid for any workweek in
    which they perform no work
    . An employee is not paid on a salary basis
    if deductions from the employee's predetermined compensation are made
    for absences occasioned by the employer or by the operating
    requirements of the business. If the employee is ready, willing and
    able to work, deductions may not be made for time when work is not

     When exempt employees are willing and able to work but the employer has no work for them, they must be given the entire workweek off in order for the employer to avoid paying them their full salary. Conversely if an exempt employee performs any work in a workweek (such as checking email from home for an hour) then he or she must receive their full salary.  So it's important to tell exempt employees that they are prohibited from performing any work (including email) during the workweek of the furlough.

    Another issue is unemployment benefits eligibility.   Look at your state law to see whether furloghed  workers will be eligible for unemployment compensation during the furlough.  If they are you should give them information on how they can apply for benefits.

  • SF Bay has the right federal info.  I'll add to that only that it means "calendar week" - you can be off for 21 days and still end up paying for the full first and final weeks of the period if they are only partial calendar weeks.
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