An exempt employee may perform nonexempt duties during the pandemic without losing the exemption, the U.S. Department of Labor recently said.
“During the period of a public health emergency declared by a federal, state, or local authority with respect to COVID-19, otherwise exempt employees may temporarily perform nonexempt duties that are required by the emergency without losing the exemption,” the DOL said in a series of pandemic-related FAQs it issued July 20.
The agency's Wage and Hour Division regulations allow an employee who otherwise qualifies as exempt under FLSA rules to perform nonexempt duties during emergencies that “threaten the safety of employees, a cessation of operation, or serious damage to the employer’s property” and which are beyond the employer's control and could not be reasonably anticipated.
“COVID-19 is a rare event affecting the public welfare of the entire nation that an employer could not reasonably anticipate and is consistent with the FLSA's regulatory criteria for emergencies,” the DOL said.
“Employees who are temporarily required to perform nonexempt duties due to COVID-19 may do so without losing the FLSA exemption, as long as they continue to be paid on a salary basis of least $684 per week.”