Salaried Employees Who Are Furloughed Due to COVID-19 Are Likely Owed Large Sums of Backpay

The California Department of Industrial Relations has clarified that, because both the FLSA and state law require that employers pay exempt employees “performing any work during a week their full weekly salary if they do not work the full week because the employer failed to make work available,” employers are required to pay exempt employees their full weekly salary on any week for which they perform any work.

This is hugely important as it relates to COVID-19 because exempt employees are frequently asked to perform small increments of work – whether simply answering a call or responding to an email – while furloughed due to the virus.  These employees are typically not paid at all while on these furloughs, or are paid a small amount and not their full salary.  But, the law is quite clear that if the employee does even 30 seconds of work they are owed their full salary for the entire week.  Failing to provide full payment for these weeks also triggers multiple other violations of state law that carry damages, such as Labor Code Section 204, which requires timely payment of wages.  As you can see, the implications of this are enormous and employees are losing thousands of dollars of pay which they can reclaim through the legal process. 

The concept of being due a full week’s pay for simply responding to an email or less is counterintuitive and for this reason, employers are taking advantage and denying their exempt employees lawfully required wages for weeks of “work.”  We can help you to recover your full salary for any week in which you performed even a second of work-related tasks while on furlough due to COVID-19.  Again, whether full wages are owed is not in dispute – the law on this is clear.  Employers are simply taking advantage of the gap between what most people assume (that only the small task needs to be compensated, or that no compensation is due at all because the employee is on furlough status) and what the law says.  For this reason, you need experienced employee attorneys to go to bat for you to recover these outstanding wages. 

We can do this while you are still employed, either by negotiating an individual settlement or filing a PAGA or class lawsuit.  All representation is on a contingency basis, i.e., we only get paid if we win or settle as a percentage of the recovery. 

You can speak with an experienced employment lawyer by filling out the contact form below:


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