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fuloughs or unpaid compensation California

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  • fuloughs or unpaid compensation California

    The company where I work is planning forced forloughs for my dept. in an unusual format. They are proposing not reducing our time at work but reducing our pay by 1.53 hrs. per pay period for 1 yr. to equal 40 hrs. of fulough. Most other departments are just taking a reduction in time to equal the 40 hrs. of furlough time, for example one fri. a month off. It seems the way they are proposing our deal is either work for 1.53 hrs. without compensation or docking our pay for the same time period. I would rather just not work for that amount of time rather than work it and not be compensated for it. Is this proposal legal?

  • #2
    Actual the way you describe is more likely to be legal then the other method. Very basically non-exempt employees must be paid at least minimum wage ($8/hr in CA) for all hours worked (plus overtime). Employees who are both Exempt and Salaried must be paid at least $640/week (in CA), plus follow the 541.602 docking rules. The federal 541.602 docking rules for private sector employees do not support furloughs in any meaningful fashion. (State and local government are under a different set of rules - federal government is under a VERY different set of rules).

    If the employer just reduces an employees hour-rate/salary by x% on a go forward basis, that action is almost certain legal as long as the new rate does not violate the floors I mentioned earlier.

    Unpaid furloughs are general legal for non-exempt employees, but legally problematic for private sector Exempt Salaried employees. And flipping the salary back and forth for an Exempt Salaried employee is legally problematic.

    To further complicate things, CA issued a rather unusual opinion letter not to long ago which seems to support the notion of furloughs and Exempt Salaried employees in CA. Which is fine, but CA-DLSE rules effect CA only, meaning that an aggrieved CA employee could still file a federal wage claim for a 541.602 violation. One of these days I need to take a whole researching that opinion letter and see what the big law firms think about it. I have read that decision maybe three times now and it makes less sense every time I read it.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


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