What Is an Hourly Shift Manager?
Hourly shift managers and supervisors lead teams of employees, yet their management and control of business functions are limited. In many cases, they work alongside the employees they supervise and, as such, are working supervisors. They may have been rank-and-file employees who were promoted because of their functional expertise or ability to perform the duties of regular employees; however, they aren't at the level of management responsible for making high-impact decisions that affect organizational strategy and direction.
Hourly shift managers are referred to as hourly supervisors, shift supervisors or team leaders in some workplaces. They have responsibility for maintaining operations of the shift to which they are assigned, keeping employees and team members apprised of operational issues, such as service standards, work assignments and schedules, and escalating high-level department issues to their supervising manager.
Hourly shift managers also are responsible for duties such as recording employee absences and distributing paychecks. Their positions commonly are found in the food and beverage, hospitality, production and manufacturing industries. They aren't automatically entitled to day shifts because they have a supervisor's or manager's title or because they have some supervisory or leadership responsibilities. In round-the-clock operations, hourly shift managers and supervisors work every shift that regular employees work.
In large organizations with several layers of hierarchy, hourly shift managers and supervisors have more limited authority or autonomy than their job titles suggest. For example, hourly shift managers and supervisors don't have the authority to hire, discipline or fire employees based on performance, misconduct and insubordination. The shift supervisor usually reports these incidents to a department manager, but he doesn't have the authority to fire an employee without the oversight or approval of someone with more authority. There's a logical explanation for not granting hourly shift managers and supervisors this type of latitude: As hourly employees, they are considered non-exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.
The FLSA rules set out two distinct categories for workers -- exempt and non-exempt. Exempt workers are salaried employees who are paid for the job they are hired to do, regardless of the number of hours it takes; exempt employees do not receive overtime pay. There are two types of non-exempt employees: salaried non-exempt employees and hourly non-exempt employees. All hourly employees are non-exempt, which means they are not exempt from the FLSA rules on overtime pay. Hourly, non-exempt employees receive 1.5 times their regular hourly rate whenever they work more than 40 hours in a workweek.
Key to distinguishing exempt workers from non-exempt workers is the type of work the employee performs. Non-exempt workers often are engaged in manual labor and their primary duties do not require them to exercise independent judgment. Hourly shift managers and supervisors are non-exempt workers.
Section 2(11) of the The National Labor Relations Act of 1935 further defines the term supervisor as someone "having authority, in the interest of the employer, to hire, transfer, suspend, lay off, recall, promote, discharge, assign, reward, or discipline other employees." Based on this definition with the FLSA rules, hourly shift managers and supervisors aren't truly supervisors. Because they're hourly, non-exempt workers, they don't routinely exercise independent judgment.
Based on the FLSA rules, all employees who are paid on a hourly basis are non-exempt. They don't have the kinds of jobs that are directly related to the management of the company, and neither do they have authority -- even in supervisory roles -- to hire, fire or discipline employees. Hourly shift managers, therefore, fall into the category of workers who receive overtime pay and who are not managers in the sense that their job duties directly impact the company's leadership and direction.