If business is slow, can we send employees home early?
Yes, you can send employees home early due to a lack of work. Exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (not entitled to overtime) would need to be paid their entire salary for the day. Non-exempt employees (those eligible for overtime) would generally only need to be paid for actual hours worked.
However, if you operate in California, Connecticut, D.C., New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Oregon (minors only), or Rhode Island, you should check your state’s reporting time pay requirements. Employees may be entitled to reporting time pay for a certain number of hours even if they just showed up and did no actual work. This is intended to lessen wage loss that is not the fault of the employee, as well as encourage employers to not over-schedule, since it causes employees to waste time and resources getting to work.