Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.
An important new opinion letter from the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), issued on August 19, 2009, conforms California’s approach to furloughing salaried “white collar” exempt employees with the federal approach. The opinion approved an employer’s request to reduce its exempt employees’ scheduled work days from five to four days per week, along with a corresponding reduction in salary. This approach was designed to address the employer’s significant but temporary economic difficulties, with the expectation that as soon as business conditions permitted, the employer would restore the full five-day work schedule and the full salaries of its exempt employees. This opinion withdraws a prior DLSE opinion that had concluded that federal and California law “precludes an employer from reducing the salary of an exempt employee during a period when a company operates a shortened workweek due to economic conditions.” DLSE Opinion 2002.03.12 at p. 5.
For an in-depth discussion and guidance on this development, see Littler ASAP, DLSE Agrees California’s Partial-Week Furlough Options Are Coextensive With Federal Law.