Human Resources

Exempt Employee Pay

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Policy Information
  • Issue Date: March 9, 2006
  • Primary Contact: Director of Human Resources
  • Responsible Member of Directorate: Vice President of Finance & Administration
  • Responsible Office: Human Resources
Policy Statement
In accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act regulations, exempt employees who are required to be paid on a salary basis may not have their pay reduced for variations in the quantity or quality of work performed. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution prohibits all managers and supervisors from making improper deductions from the salaries of exempt employees. Employees who feel their pay has been improperly reduced should report this immediately following the procedures specified within this document.

Reason for Policy
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution makes every effort to comply with all applicable employment laws at all times. We are committed to ensuring that our employees understand and receive the protection that they are guaranteed under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Policy Information
Policy Statement
Reason for Policy
Who Should Be Familiar With This Policy
Related Documents
Overview & Procedures
   Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
   Salary Basis Rule
   Impermissible Deductions
   Permissible Deductions

Who Should Be Familiar With This Policy
• Members of the Directorate
• Managers, Supervisors, and Administrators
• Exempt employees
• Payroll Staff
• Human Resources Staff

Related Documents

Institution Policies Other Documents
Human Resources: Paid Absences
Human Resources: Extended Leave of Absence
Human Resources: Payment for Overtime
Human Resources: Bi-weekly Time Reports
U.S. Department of Labor – Fair Pay Website


If you have questions about specific issues or need assistance with the interpretation of this policy, contact:

Employment Services Manager x2705
Employment Services Specialist x2275 or x2704

Overview & Procedures
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law which requires that most employees in the United States be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime pay at time and one-half the regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek.

However, the FLSA provides an exemption from both minimum wage and overtime pay for employees employed as bona fide executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, and certain computer employees. To qualify for exemption, employees generally must meet certain tests regarding their job duties and be paid on a salary basis at no less than $455 per week. Job titles do not determine exempt status. In order for an exemption to apply, an employee?s specific job duties and salary must meet all the requirements of the regulations.
Salary Basis Rule Exempt employees normally must receive their full salary for any week in which they perform any work, without regard to the number of days or hours worked. However, exempt employees need not be paid for any workweek in which they perform NO work at all for the Institution.

Employees in exempt positions are expected to work their full schedule. At times, an exempt employee may also be expected to work a reasonable number of additional hours to complete assignments. All employees are responsible for properly completing timecards in accordance with the policy on Bi-weekly Time Reports.

When there are planned absences, employees are expected to give as much advance notice as possible. For certain absences, such as those associated with vacations and floating holidays, advance approval is required before the absence takes place.
Impermissible Deductions Deductions from pay cannot be made as a result of absences due to the circumstances listed below. Such improper pay deductions are therefore specifically prohibited by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, regardless of circumstances. Managers or supervisors violating this policy will be subject to investigation of their pay practices and appropriate corrective action in accordance with normal procedures.
  • Jury duty;
  • Attendance as a witness;
  • Temporary military leave;
  • Absences caused by the operating requirements of the business;
  • Partial day amounts other than those specifically discussed under the ‘Permissible Deductions’ section of this policy.
Permissible Deductions The few exceptions to the requirements to pay exempt employees on a salary basis are listed below. In these cases deductions may be permissible as long as they are consistent with other Institution policies and practices.
  • Absences of one or more full days for personal reasons other than sickness or disability (partial days must be paid).
  • Fees received by the employee for jury or witness duty or military leave may be applied to offset the pay otherwise due to the employee for the week. No deductions can be made for failure to work for these reasons, however.
  • Deductions for the first and last week of employment, when only part of the week is worked by the employee.
  • Deductions for unpaid leave taken in accordance with a legitimate absence under the Family Medical Leave Act.
Exceptions to this policy require approval of the President and Director.

Last updated: December 29, 2016