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Salary exempt employee quits after 2 hours at work

If the exempt salaried employee comes in and works two hours and then quits and leaves do you have to pay them for the entire day? Thanks

The U.S. Department of Labor Fair Pay regulations on exempt employees cover this situation and many others.

As an employer, you can prorate the exempt employee's salary only for the first and last payroll weeks the employee works. If an exempt employee worked only 1/4 of the usual hours on his last day, you can pay him 1/4 of his usual salary for the day. This is true whether the employee quits or you fire him.

You usually cannot prorate an exempt employee's salary for other payroll weeks. So if an employee came in and worked 2 hours, then went home, but did not quit his job, you would be required to pay him for the entire day. (There are exceptions for an employee who takes time off under FMLA or ADA.) However, if the employee resigns his position after working a few hours, you can prorate his salary for that week based upon the number of days or hours worked.

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This entry was posted on Friday, February 18th, 2011 at 7:05 am and is filed under
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11 Responses to “Salary exempt employee quits after 2 hours at work”

  1. kristi Says:

    What if an employee gives notice and finishes the work week? Can you only pay them for hours worked or do you have to pay them for the work week?

  2. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Kristi! The federal FLSA permits an employer to prorate the exempt employees salary during the first and last payroll weeks worked. So if the exempt employee only works 20 hours in the last week, instead of the usual 40, you can pay her 50% of her usual salary. This is true, even if she spreads those 20 hours across the entire week. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  3. glen Says:

    What if this exempt salaried employee has a varied schedule. some weeks working 3 days, others workin 5 and still others none. Would the scheduled week that he resigned in be the base for the percentage?

  4. Caitlin Says:

    Hi glen! Well, it is very unusual for an exempt employees work days to vary that much. Most employers would want to get their moneys worth from the weekly salary. But yes, the employer could prorate the employees salary based upon the percentage of the scheduled days (or hours) the employee worked, in the last payroll week only. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  5. Angie Says:

    What if a salaried employee gave notice Friday, we were scheduled to be off Monday for the holiday and only worked 3 hours Tuesday and walked off the job? I know she came in Monday, but I have no idea how long since it was a holiday? Thanks!!

  6. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Angie! If you cannot determine how many hours the exempt employee worked on Monday, the safest course is to pay her for the full day.
    Ordinarily, as you know, an exempt employee who works any portion of the day, even a few minutes, must be paid her salary for the full day. However, the federal FLSA regulations permit an employer to prorate an exempt employees salary for the first and last payroll weeks of employment, depending upon the number of days or hours worked.
    In this case, if you knew the employee worked 3 hours Monday and 3 hours Tuesday, you could simply pay her for 6 hours.(Assuming that is all the time she worked in the payroll week.) However, since you have no way of knowing how much the employee worked on Monday, the best option is to pay her full salary for the day. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  7. Bill Says:

    If a salaried employee give a written two week notice and then is asked to leave after a week and one and a half days. Is the employer required to pay for the entire last week or can they prorate your pay?

  8. P. Mosby Says:

    A salaried nonexempt employee’s salary is prorated over a 12 month period. The employee only works 10 months. The employee is required to give a 30-day notice prior to resigning. The employee is hired Jan 2 and quits March 10 without providing a 30-day notice. Is the employee entitled to the prorated money for the time employed?

  9. hrlady Says:

    Even though the employee is paid on a salary basis, he is still non-exempt. Under the FLSA, a non-exempt employee must be paid for each and every hour worked. So, if the employee is owed the prorated money as time worked then it must be paid.

  10. Dennis Says:

    What if an exempt employee quits and walks out in the middle of the day? Does the employee need to be paid for 1/2 the usual salary?

  11. hrlady Says:

    Hi Dennis, Yes, the employee’s salary should be prorated for the time he actually worked.

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