The US Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued Administrator signed Opinion Letter FLSA2009-2. Although Opinion Letters only apply to the exact set of facts and circumstances presented in each case, they are a valuable aid in understanding current interpretations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
In this Opinion Letter, the DOL concluded that an employer “may require exempt employees to use accrued vacation time during a plant shutdown of less than a workweek without violating the salary basis test and thereby affecting their exempt status” under the FLSA.
There is no requirement under the FLSA to provide vacation to employees. Employers may require employees to use vacation time or leave time “whether for a full or partial day’s absence, provided the employees receive in payment an amount equal to their guaranteed salary.” Therefore, so long as the employees receive their guaranteed salary there is no impact on their exempt status. Exempt employees without available time for vacation or leave must still receive their full salary “for any absence(s) occasioned by the employer or the operating requirements of the business.”
State laws may provide rules that are more beneficial to the employee and must be followed. Contact Vision Payroll if you have questions about this Opinion Letter.