Do non-exempt employees get paid for the "optional" holiday party?
November 3, 2012 9:43 AM Subscribe
What are the rules for "optional" but not really optional work-related events for non-exempt employees?
posted by anonymous to work & money (14 answers total)
Our work is having an "optional" holiday party from 5-7pm. Work hours typically end at 6pm. Holiday party will include food and alcohol, and will mix the exempt and non-exempt employees.
I understand that even volunteer activities that have to do with work are to be paid to non-exempt employees and that they need to be paid for anything work-related no matter what. (Here: http://www.flsa.com/overtime.html)
Does a holiday party that is partly during work hours and partly not count for that as well? Does it matter that it's been labeled "optional?" In a workplace that mandates that non-exempt employees never work over 40 hours, should the non-exempt employees arrange to take comp time for that one hour during the week of the party? (That feels oddly unfair to exempt employees for a change, as the non-exempts get to party AND come in late one day.)
Other possibly useful info: Staff will be mingling with invited board members, who may or may not attend, requiring staff to be "on" during the party. While it has not been stated explicitly, there is the implicit expectation that we must make a good impression and talk to the board members, many of whom are funders to our organization. Many of our jobs include the duty of raising funds for our organization.