How do we pay exempt and nonexempt employees who are working remotely?

Pay obligations do not change simply because an employee (exempt or nonexempt) is working remotely.

If an exempt employee does any work in a week, the employee must be paid. If, however, the exempt employee does not do any work in the week, the employee’s weekly salary may be reduced.

For nonexempt, hourly employees, all hours worked must be paid. Employers should accurately track any time worked and pay for overtime, if it occurs. Employers also should ensure that nonexempt employees take uninterrupted, off-duty meal and rest breaks — especially since employees may forget to take their breaks in a home setting. For example, employers might suggest employees set an alarm to remind them to take their breaks.

Establishing a remote work/telecommuting policy is a great way to communicate your expectations to your remote employees, particularly when it comes to keeping an accurate record of their hours worked, including overtime, as well as taking their meal and rest breaks.

Read more in Hours of Work and Recording Time Worked in the HR Library.

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