Mandatory Work Hours During Busy Times
By Strategic HR Inc.
Can we dictate “mandatory” hours for our exempt and non-exempt employees during busy times? We do not typically require employees to work specific hours (during the evening or on the weekend) but during our busy times we need the extra coverage. Can I do this legally?
Yes! As an employer you may require employees to work a certain number of hours and/or even specific hours of the day or specific days. The Fair Labor Standards Act defines 40 hours as a standard work week, however, it does not put an upper limit on the number of hours you can have your employees work. There are employee relations concerns with such a mandate but from a legal perspective, you can require your employees to work as much as you need and whatever schedule is necessary to meet your business needs. It is recommended that you work with your employees to clearly communicate such mandates throughout the on-boarding process, or if it is a new requirement help them understand why you made the change to avoid less-than-happy employees.
One caveat, the FLSA does have working hour restrictions in place for child labor and does require overtime payments (paying time and a one half) for hours worked over 40 in a work week. Some states even require overtime payment if you work more than eight hours in a day. Keep those things in mind when you are determining who needs to work those large number of hours and check out www.dol.gov/whd/flsa for additional information on those requirements.