Ask An HR Expert: What if I don’t have 40 hours’ worth of work for my employees?

Hello! Thank you for joining me for another episode of Ask an HR Expert. My name is Katie Stewart, and I am with Tandem HR.

Today’s questions is: What are my options if I’m not able to provide 40 hours’ worth of work to my employees right now?



Your options for reducing employee hours will depend on whether or not your employees are exempt or non-exempt. An exempt employee is someone that is exempt from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act and is typically paid a salary. If you do not have work for this individual, you do have the option to reduce their hours and adjust their salary accordingly. For example, you can drop them from 40 hours per week down to 20 hours per week. Then, you would adjust their salary by the same. Remember, under the Fair Labor Standards Act you do have to make a minimum of $684 per week to continue exempt status. This minimum salary is just one of the requirements for an employee to be exempt.


A non-exempt employee is typically paid an hourly wage and is eligible for overtime pay for any hours worked above and beyond 40 in the workweek. You can reduce the hours of a non-exempt employee, and simply pay them for the hours they’ve worked.


I hope this answers your question and that you will join me for future episodes of Ask an HR Expert.


If you have any other questions, please reach out to Tandem HR at 630.928.0510 or fill out the form below.


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