What You Need to Know About Under 40 Hours for Salaried Staff

In 2024, salaried employees are increasingly seeking flexible job schedules. Here's what you need to know about navigating work time regulations and flexible scheduling options for salaried workers.

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The initiative to bring employees back to office settings has encountered significant challenges, leading to a globally confirmed shift to remote work.

Understanding factors defining flexibility of schedules for salaried workers in 2024 is essential, especially when searching for the answer to a popular question: "What if a salaried employee works less than 40 hours?"

To address this concern, it's crucial to first comprehend the definition of salaried work and the distinction between hourly and salary compensation.

The Life of a Salaried Employee in 2024: 10 Facts Straight Up

  • Clocking in? Nah. Salaried employees manage their own time, often putting in 45-50 hours weekly compared to hourly workers' typical 40. Expect a "trust but verify" approach from employers.
  • Vacation blues? Not always. While unpaid leave exists, benefits like bonuses or extra time off might sweeten the deal. Salaried employees are typically entitled to paid time off – the amount varies by company and may be based on factors such as years of service or job level.
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  • Overtime? Mostly a dream. Exempt salaried employees (earning at least $23,600 annually) rarely see it, though alternative compensation like comp time might exist.
  • Remote revolution: The rise of remote work has blurred the lines between work and personal life for many salaried employees. While it offers flexibility, setting boundaries is crucial to avoid burnout.
  • Upskilling is key: Technology is constantly evolving, so staying relevant by honing new skills can be crucial for salaried employees seeking career advancement or navigating job transitions.
  • Deadlines can be demanding. Expect to put in extra hours to meet them, even outside regular business hours. But hey, the autonomy you have in your work might make it worth it.
  • Networking on your own time? Conferences and events often fall outside business hours, but they're seen as opportunities for advancement.
  • Career ladder calling? Salaried positions often offer more growth potential than hourly roles.
  • Benefits galore! Health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off are perks that help offset the longer hours and no overtime.
  • Holidays? Not guaranteed. Working on holidays might be the norm, depending on your job and company policies.

The Bottom Line: Hourly workers are paid for the number of hours they work, whereas salaried employees receive a fixed amount per year. Traditionally, salaried positions were considered full-time jobs requiring at least 40 hours per week.

Nonetheless, as the remote jobs and gig economy grow, this definition becomes increasingly obsolete.

While some may work fewer hours, others prefer a traditional 40-hour workweek.

The critical factor is no longer the number of hours worked but rather the quality of work produced. Employers are shifting their focus towards output.

However, several aspects come into play when considering the flexible schedules for salaried employees.

While understanding perks and work hours is important, the bigger picture matters.

Trends, laws, and cultural shifts are majorly shaping salaried work.

Let's explore the drivers behind these changes to grasp the true landscape of this evolving world.

As we navigate the evolving work landscape, especially regarding salaried positions and the increasing adoption of flexible job schedules in 2024, it reveals a complex interplay of:

  • market and job trends
  • legal regulations
  • organizational cultures.

Below are ten critical drivers that encapsulate the current background of salaried work and flexible job schedules.

Increased Flexibility

The demand for flexible working hours has surged, driven by a workforce that values work-life balance. This shift is not only in response to the pandemic-induced remote work experiment but also due to the increasing recognition of its benefits in attracting and retaining talent.

Organizations respond to the trend for increased flexibility in two distinct ways:

🗓️They have continued or adopted more flexible work schedules for salaried employees, allowing for variations in start and end times, and in some cases, choosing their work hours to accommodate personal responsibilities and improve work-life balance.

🗓️They applied legal mechanisms to set boundaries on work. In particular:

⏱️ In France, the "right to disconnect" law allows employees to ignore work emails and calls outside working hours.

⏱️ In the Netherlands, employees have the "right to request" flexible work arrangements, such as part-time work or adjusted hours.

Remote Work Continuation

The trend towards remote work, significantly accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, remains prevalent.

Companies have recognized the benefits of remote work setups by applying advanced time tracking systems. These systems help reduce overhead costs and provide perfect conditions for hybrid and fully remote models for salaried employees.

Examples by countries

⏱️Germany: Companies must offer home office options when technically feasible and requested by employees.

⏱️ Spain: Companies must reimburse remote workers for electricity and internet usage expenses.

Four-Day Workweeks

There's a growing interest in four-day workweeks, with some companies experimenting with or fully implementing this schedule to enhance employee well-being and productivity, without reducing pay for salaried employees.

Global cases

⏱️ Iceland: A large-scale trial showed improved well-being and productivity with no pay reduction.

⏱️ Japan: The government encourages four-day workweeks to boost tourism and address workforce shortages.

Emphasis on Output Over Hours

Many organizations are moving towards a results-oriented work environment (ROWE), emphasizing completing tasks and achieving results rather than the number of hours worked.

This outcome-oriented approach encourages efficiency and effectiveness, allowing salaried employees to potentially enjoy more free time.

⏱️ Portugal: Companies cannot measure employee performance solely based on time worked.

Use of Technology in Scheduling

Advancements in communication and project management tools help maintain team cohesion and ensure that work is completed efficiently, regardless of the physical location of the employees.

In particular, innovative scheduling and time tracking software are being used, making it easier for managers and employees to coordinate and maintain productivity by:

  • optimization of work schedules
  • facilitation of remote work
  • practical support of flexible working hours.

There's a growing body of legal regulations to protect workers' rights, including those of salaried employees.

These may include stipulations about maximum working hours, overtime compensation, varying significantly by country and state.

⚖️EU: Maximum working hours are capped at 48 per week, with generous vacation and sick leave mandates.

⚖️South Korea: Strict limits on overtime exist, often requiring employee consent and higher pay rates.

⚖️New Zealand: The "right to reasonable requests" legislation empowers employees to negotiate flexible work arrangements.

Rise of the Gig Economy

The gig economy's expansion has influenced traditional employment, with some salaried positions incorporating aspects like project-based work and flexibility in scheduling, reflecting a blend of traditional and gig work attributes.

Mental Health and Wellbeing Focus

Companies are paying closer attention to the impact of work schedules on mental health and overall employee well-being.

This has led to initiatives like mandatory breaks, mental health days, and wellness programs.

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Customized Work Schedules

Personalization of work schedules to fit individual employee needs is becoming more common, acknowledging diverse personal circumstances and promoting a more inclusive work environment.

Flexible schedules can take many forms, including:

  • part-time work
  • flextime
  • compressed workweeks
  • job sharing.

Employers are increasingly open to negotiating these arrangements to accommodate their employees' needs within the constraints of business requirements.

⚖️Canada: Legislation promotes flexible work arrangements for employees with disabilities or childcare needs.

⚖️Denmark: Extensive parental leave policies allow flexible work reintegration after having children.

Global Teams and Time Zones

For organizations with global operations, work schedules for salaried employees often need to accommodate multiple time zones.

This has led to more asynchronous work processes, where work is done according to individual schedules while ensuring collaboration across different geographies.

⚖️Australia: The Fair Work Act establishes minimum working hours and overtime regulations even for remote employees.

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In 2024, the essence of salaried work transcends traditional boundaries, spotlighting flexibility, output quality, and the holistic well-being of employees.

This evolution reflects a deep integration of technological advancements and a global shift towards more personalized and efficient work models.

Ultimately, the future of work hinges on embracing these dynamic changes, fostering an environment where flexibility and productivity coalesce to redefine the professional landscape.