From the Hotline: Pay and After-Hours Party

Question: Do we need to pay nonexempt employees if we have a company party at a restaurant or public business from 6 – 8 p.m. and they stay after?

Answer: Unless the employee is staying after to assist with clean up or is required to stay, there is no need to compensate the individual for time beyond the event. If your event is after normal working hours and is a voluntary party where no company consequences for non-attendance, there is no requirement to compensate a nonexempt employee under wage and hour regulations. However, in the event that a party is held during any portion of an employee’s normally scheduled work hours and the employee is permitted to attend during those hours, even if voluntarily, the nonexempt employee is to be compensated. If the party was mandatory or would have any consequences for those not in attendance, the nonexempt employee would be paid for the entirety of the party, including any time the individual may provide toward set-up, tear-down, or clean-up.