What Are The Maximum Hours A Company Can Have An Exempt Employee Work?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) along with the Department of Labor (DOL) regulate the rules regarding employees. When it comes to how many hours an exempt employee can work for a company, there seems to be little guiding principles.

But let’s start with the requirements for exempt workers.

Exempt Employees

While workers paid by the hour and under the coverage of FLSA must be paid overtime wages, salaried employees are usually exempt from FLSA overtime wages. Recognizing who is exempt or not exempt can be difficult. The easiest way to recognize exempt employees is based on salary and job duties.

The DOL specifies that administrative, executive, professional, outside sales employees, and certain computer professionals are not eligible for overtime wages.

Employees are exempt when…

  • paid more than $47,476 per year (or $913 per week)
  • receive salary rather than hourly wages
  • perform exempt job duties

Employers and employees must note that job titles don’t determine exempt status. Someone given a job title that is usually exempt without the corresponding high-level responsibilities may, in fact, not be exempt. Employers generally do not pay overtime to salaried professionals who might work over 40 hours in a workweek.

So What Is The Maximum Hours An Exempt Employee Can Work?

Basically, an exempt worker could work all hours of the week. There is no maximum amount of hours that a company could demand from an exempt employee. In this situation, the law does not do much to provide any protections for an employee who might feel overworked.

Can Employers Require Exempt Employees To Track Hours?

Sometimes employers want to see that their exempt managers are working the same hours as the employees who they manage and oversee. However, if an employer requires an employee to track their hours, accounting might start to view an exempt employee as hourly. If that occurs, an employer would be subject to pay past overtime to that employee.

I’m An Exempt Employee, But My Pay Fluctuates With The Hours Worked. Is That Legal?

When an employee who is considered exempt experiences a fluctuation in salary due to hours worked, the law will fail to see this employee as exempt. However, FLSA does allow employers to pay an exempt employee additional compensation. This can be paid through a flat sum, bonus payment, straight-time hourly amount, time and one-half, or paid time off.  This will not affect the employee’s exempt status.

When Is It Acceptable To Track Hours Worked By An Exempt Employee?

An employer can track an exempt employee’s hourly work for purposes unrelated to pay. For example, an employer can account for time worked for particular clients. Employers can also track daily work attendance. Employers also must follow the rules on recordkeeping of the wage and workweek beginning and ending for an exempt employee.

How Do I Require An Exempt Manager To Be Present For Certain Hours Without Jeopardizing Exempt Status?

Since part of the responsibilities that the manager may have is overseeing certain employees, an employer can tie the requirement of being on site during the same hours as those managed employees. This protects the employee’s exempt status while ensuring that they are at work during certain hours.


If you have experienced employment discrimination as a physicist, contact an employment discrimination lawyer who will know how to navigate your case and your rights under the law.

Don’t hesitate, talk to an attorney: (412) 626-5626 or lawyer@lawkm.com.