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curious1000
12-12-2005, 08:46 AM
Hi, I was a salaried employee for a college in the state of Nebraska. My hours have now been cut to part-time. I'm being told I'm now a part-time employee. My question regarding Nebraska state law is once you have been moved to part-time should you now be paid hourly? Can they keep me on salary as long as I'm a part-time employee? Can a part-time employee be on salary?

Thanks

Beth3
12-12-2005, 08:47 AM
Yes, a part-time employee can still be an exempt employee and paid on a salaried basis.

curious1000
12-12-2005, 08:49 AM
What if you are working more hours than part-time. How will I be compensated?

Beth3
12-12-2005, 08:54 AM
The same rules for exempt employees apply regardless of whether the employee is full-time or part-time. A part-time exempt employee does not need to be paid more because he or she works a few extra hours - in fact, that would be a violation of wage and hour laws.

Let's say the job pays $40,000/year for full-time. An employee working a 20 hour per week schedule would be paid $20,000/year. The employee's weekly salary will remain fixed ($384.61) whether the employee worked 15 hours in a particular week or 25. That's no different than how you would be handled as a full-time exempt employee - you're paid the same whether you're out ill and only work 32 hours or whether you have loads to do and work 50 hours.

curious1000
12-12-2005, 09:23 AM
Thanks for answering my questions.

I have acouple more if you don't mind.

1. I'm a salaried employee with a fixed income per month.
they give us sick time and vacation.

If my hours fall below 40 per week they "reduce my pay to reflect the missing hours" is this legal.

I have had many weeks that come up short of 40, but my pay is still reduced. Is this really salary, or is just good for the employer?

Do they legally have to pay me for a 40 hour week even if I work say 35 or 30 hours that week?

Beth3
12-12-2005, 09:26 AM
We need to back up here. We never established whether your position is exempt or non-exempt. Do you know which it is or, barring that, do you you receive overtime if you should work more than 40 hours in a week?

curious1000
12-12-2005, 09:30 AM
I'm exempt, I don not get paid for extra hours or overtime.

But I get "docked" for time short.

I also have to fill out a time sheet to reflect this.

Also can I receive unemployment for the time I have to make up.

cbg
12-12-2005, 09:37 AM
Okay, I think we need to clarify a few things.

a. Nothing in Federal law and nothing in the law of any states dictates what is full time and what is part time. What is considered full time and what is considered part time is ENTIRELY up to the employer.

b. 40 hours per week is the line that the Feds have drawn in the sand regarding when OT is required. Other than that, 40 hours per week has NO legal significance. While it is traditionally, though not by law, considered to be full time, nothing in the law prohibits the employer from setting full time at 24 hours or 45 hours or 20 hours or even 65 hours. It can be anything the employer wants it to be, as long as non-exempt employees are paid OT for anything over 40 in a week. 40 hours per week has no legal significance for exempt employees. If you regularly work only 30 hours per week, or 25, or 32, they can legally set your salary at an appropriate percentage of what an employee who works 40 hours would earn.

c. An exempt employee can have their salary docked under certain limited, rigidly controlled circumstances. Whether your employer can dock you when your hours fall below 40 in a week depends entirely on the reason you were not at work and whether or not it was a full day or a partial day. It is legal in every state but Washington, and in some cases it is also legal in Washington, to keep the salary the same but to fill in the missing hours with sick or vacation time.

d. If your pay is not the same every week, but is variable dependent on how many hours you work, you are not salaried and you are not being treated as exempt, regardless of whether or not you qualify to be exempt. If the number of hours you work dictates how much you are paid, then you are being treated as non-exempt. THIS IS LEGAL. It is always legal to pay someone as non-exempt; it is only legal to pay someone as exempt if their job duties so qualify them. However, if you are being treated as non-exempt, if your hours go above 40 in a week, you have to be paid overtime.

Does this help?

Beth3
12-12-2005, 09:49 AM
I'm exempt, I don not get paid for extra hours or overtime.

But I get "docked" for time short.

I also have to fill out a time sheet to reflect this.

Also can I receive unemployment for the time I have to make up.


If you are exempt, then they cannot dock your pay in other than full day increments fand only for one of several very specific reasons. Your paycheck can never be docked if you are absent for less than a full day unless the time is FMLA. It is lawful for your employer to dock your vacation, PTO, or similar paid time bank for any absences however.

curious1000
12-12-2005, 09:49 AM
Our work week is based off of 40 hours per week. So I think I can assume that what they consider a full week is 40 hours. I do not get paid overtime or even straight time for anything over 40. But once again my hours are cut hours below 40. So, I'm a little confused, I just want to know if everyhting they are doing is legal for the state of Nebraska. What do you think I should do?

Beth3
12-12-2005, 09:51 AM
Let me ask you a question - if you leave work at noon because you are ill with a cold, what happens to your paycheck? Is your paycheck reduced by 1/2 day's pay?

curious1000
12-12-2005, 10:15 AM
Yes, my pay is cut to reflect the hours I missed, unless I tell them to use sick-time or vacation. I work a split shift, 10 hour days, 4 days a week.

Beth3
12-12-2005, 10:18 AM
Then your employer is violating wage and hour laws. They cannot treat you as exempt when it comes to not paying any overtime but treat you as non-exempt if you are absent from work.

You can either point out to your employer that they are violating wage and hour laws and give them a chance to rectify the situation or you can go directly to your State's Department of Labor and file a complaint.

curious1000
12-12-2005, 10:21 AM
Thank you so much for your answers, it's nice to know I have somewhere to with my questions. I'm trying to find all the answers before I approach, thanks so much. I will be in touch to let you know what happens. We have about 40 instructors who are all in this same position.

Thanks again,

Michael

Beth3
12-12-2005, 10:22 AM
You're welcome. :)

Pattymd
12-12-2005, 10:24 AM
Then we may have a problem here. Under that scenario, as an exempt employee, since you worked part of the day, they must pay you for the full day (unless the absence was due to intermittent FMLA leave), although they can substitute sick or vacation. However, if you were out of paid time off, or you were not yet eligible to take it, you would still need to be paid your full day's pay. And they could substitue PTO time for the partial day absence automatically, without your request or permission, which would be the smart thing to do, as long as they have to pay you anyway.

Plus, the federal minimum salary of $455 per week cannot be prorated down for part-time exempt, no matter how few hours you are scheduled for.

curious1000
12-12-2005, 10:38 AM
Can I ask you a moral question? Should I give them a chance to correct this, or should I go to the Nebraska Nepartment of Labor and let them handle it. I want to make sure my rights are not violated, or they don't try to fire me bringing up this issue. This is avery large college and they have corporate lawyers that work for them. Shouldn't they already know the laws?

Michael

Beth3
12-12-2005, 10:41 AM
Yes, I would fully expect them to have a payroll manager and HR professionals fully conversant with wage and hour laws.

Michael, only you can guage the reaction you're going to get if you go to your manager or HR. Are they in general reasonable and nice people who treat employees with courtesy and respect? If so, then you should feel comfortable having a dialog with them regarding their pay practices and nicely suggesting you came across some info that suggests they're out of compliance.

If based on past history you feel they're likely to shoot the messenger, then go right to the State.

curious1000
12-12-2005, 10:44 AM
Thank you Beth and Patty for your answers, I think I will proceed with contacting the Department of Labor because I don't trust the system here or the people.

Thanks you so very much.

Michael

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