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  • Maine

    I am an exempt salary employee with a normal 40 hour schedule.

    Just recently my employer enacted a furlough program that only covers exempts who make more than a certain salary amount. Depending on your salary, we must take between 1-4 unpaid "furlough" days each month. On those unpaid days we are not able to use Vacation or Sick time and truly are unpaid for them.

    Is this legal? From what I have read it sounds like if someone is an exempt and willing and able to work (i.e. not sick) the employer must pay them for their full salary for the week even if the employer decides they don't have enough work or in this case they want to save money.

    Is this something I need an employment attorney to handle or something the State's DoL department would assist with?

  • #2
    Normally not legal under the 29 CFR 541.602 rules. Unless your employer is governmental in nature, in which case the 541.710 exception would apply.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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    • #3
      However, your overall wages can be cut by an amount equivalent to the number of furlough days. Thus, you arent taking furlough days and are getting paid for the full week, hwoever at a lesser rate. Thats legal.
      I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.
      Thomas Jefferson

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      • #4
        I am unfamilar with the furlough exception in the 541.602 regulations. Perhaps you could be good enough to cite?

        Thank you.
        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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        • #5
          Thanks for the replies.

          I do understand that my employer could decide/change the furlough to actually be a pay cut instead of the current plan. But, since they have already implemented the current plan what recourse do I have as an employee? Would the state's DOL department assist in this matter or would I need to find an attorney to get back the salary that they should have paid me in past months under this furlough program?

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          • #6
            I am not familar with how your state's DOL works, or even if your state has a DOL. But your normal recourse would be to file a wage claim with state DOL, or file a wage claim with federal DOL, or a small claims court action, or to talk to a lawyer about a general court action. I cannot say which recourse is best in your situation other then if you have a state DOL, that method is free and tends to be the most commonly used. And that the more money you are talking about, the better talking to a lawyer about a general court action looks.

            Can I confirm that your employer is not governmental in nature?
            "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
            Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by DAW View Post
              Can I confirm that your employer is not governmental in nature?
              Correct. Private company.

              The other part that makes this complex is I am a 100% telecommuter for the company. I have to decide if I need to contact my home state's DOL or the where the company is located. Likewise when considering a labor attorney.

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              • #8
                The company should have established itself in Maine due to withholdings for you, WC and Maine UI since you are working in Maine. If they did this, you should file a wage claim with the Maine DOL.

                http://www.maine.gov/labor/labor_laws/wagehour.html

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                • #9
                  Actually, they do not take any Maine taxes out of my paycheck. They take taxes out for my home state. The distance between my home and the office is approx. 250 miles driving and I have only been in the office 3-4 days total in the past 2 years.

                  I have been thinking that I am convered under my home state's law and Unemployment (if that ever happens) due to the fact that I'm 100% telecommute. It was in my job offer that the position is a telecommute too.

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                  • #10
                    My apology, I thought your home state was Maine and company was in another state. You are correct, you would file where you work which would be your home state.

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                    • #11
                      Agreed. Labor law is almost always a function of where the work was done. Where the company is located almost never means anything under labor law. You would almost always file the wage claim in the state that the work was done in. And "work" is a function of where you are physically, not where you receive direction from, or where the benefit of the work occurs. (Those arguments have been tried by employers and have gone no where).

                      Now contract law is a different story. There is a reason why credit card companies all have contracts spelling out out that they are subject to the laws of Delaware or some other state with very pro-employer laws.
                      "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
                      Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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