Fair Labor Standards Act

Fair Labor Standards Act: Compensation for Voluntary “Professional” Activities

Q: What are the requirements for compensating non-exempt library employees for time spent on “professional committees?”

A: A definitive answer would require more information regarding what serving on said "professional committees" included, the precise nature and affiliation of the committees, and how an employee joined, participated, and was evaluated for that participation. With that caveat, participation by a non-exempt employee would not be considered compensable time if ALL FOUR of the following statements are true:

  • The activities happen outside of employee work hours;
  • Attendance is voluntary;
  • The activities do not result in productive work for the employer during the time the employee is engaged in those activities; and
  • The activities are not directly related to the employee's job.

Discussion at a recent workshop pointed to staff participating on committees that select award-winning books, for example, as an apparent benefit to their employer if the individual’s work requires them to have knowledge of and make reading suggestions to patrons, which would violate the third statement above.

See full report from ILA General Counsel, Kiplund R. Kolkmeier (available to ILA members only). 


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