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Exempt employees

Our company policy states 38 to 40 hour per week required. We offer no paid sick time. Can a exempt salaried employee be docked for working less than 38 hours?

Whether or not the exempt employee's pay can be docked depends upon why the employee misses work.

When an employee takes time off under FMLA, that time can be unpaid, even if the employee is exempt. This is true, whether the employee takes continuous FMLA or uses it intermittently.

In some cases an exempt employee with a permanent disability is entitled to unpaid time off as a reasonable accommodation under ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act.

When an employer offers no bona fide paid sick leave program, an exempt employee who misses a full day due to illness must be paid for that time. (When the employer offers a bona fide paid sick leave program, and the employee exhausts all available paid sick leave, the exempt employee need not be paid for additional full days of work missed due to illness.)

When an exempt employee misses one or more full days of work due to personal business, the employee need not be paid for that time. For example, an exempt employee who was not available to work the day after Thanksgiving because she was out of town, need not be paid for that day.

If the employee is not covered by FMLA or ADA, and works all scheduled days but fewer hours each day, that is a different situation. Generally speaking, under the FLSA or federal Fair Labor Standards Act, an exempt employee who works any portion of the day is entitled to his or her full salary for the day. So an employee who works only an hour is still entitled to payment for the entire day.

Suppose Jane works the expected 5 days per week but only works 35 hours rather than 38-40. Jane can be disciplined for not meeting the company's performance expectations. In fact, she can even be terminated for poor performance. This is true, even if there is no problem with her performance other than the number of hours worked. However, Jane is still entitled to payment for the entire week and her salary for the week cannot be docked.

On the other hand, a non-exempt salaried employee's wages can be docked when she works fewer hours in the week. However, treating the employee in this way also makes her eligible for overtime.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, January 1st, 2011 at 2:22 pm and is filed under
Compensation, Human Resources Management.
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2 Responses to “Exempt employees”

  1. Malorie Jefferds Says:

    Hi there I love your submit

  2. Caitlin Says:

    Thanks for the kind words Malorie!~ Caitlin

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