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FMLA for Exempt Employee

Can an exempt employee that is eligible for FMLA (incapacitated daughter) be required to use PTO hours for time not at work, or is the employer required to bring them up to 40 hours per work week?

The federal Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees of covered employers up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave for certain family and medical reasons.

Employers are able to require employees to use paid time off (PTO) while on unpaid FMLA leave. If an employer’s policy is silent on the matter, then employees are permitted to choose whether or not to use their PTO. Keep in mind, FMLA regulations require that employees be notified in advance of the requirement to use their PTO and any conditions related to the use of such time.

Usually, exempt employees must receive their full predetermined salary for any workweek during which work is performed. However, an employer is not required to pay an exempt employee his/her full salary for weeks in which he/she takes unpaid leave under the FMLA.

So, if the exempt employee exhausts his/her PTO accruals, then it’s permissible to pay the employee a proportionate part of their full salary for time actually worked. For example, if the employee normally works 40 hours per week and uses four hours of unpaid leave under the FMLA, 10 percent of the exempt employee’s normal salary may be deducted for that week.


This entry was posted on Sunday, January 8th, 2017 at 2:37 pm and is filed under
Benefits, Labor Laws.
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2 Responses to “FMLA for Exempt Employee”

  1. Mike Says:

    Concerning the example written in the last paragraph of your response, couldn’t the exempt employee take 4 hours of sick time and therefore, be paid for the entire 8 hours of that day? If I understand correctly, an exempt employee that works any time on a given day must be paid his full 8 hours, even if he has exhausted all of his sick time for the year. I realize this may be “gaming” the FMLA system.


  2. hrlady Says:

    Hi Mike,
    Yes, the exempt employee can use their sick time to cover the FMLA absence. But, it’s not “gaming the FMLA system” because under the FMLA employees are permitted to use their PTO for FMLA leave. If an exempt employee exhausts their PTO then employers are permitted to deduct the time from the exempt employee’s salary, even partial days. Partial day deductions are only permitted for unpaid FMLA leave or during an employee’s initial or terminal week of employment. HTH!

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